Forma futura engagement with Lindt & Sprüngli

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Forma futura

Forma futura engagement with Lindt & Sprüngli represents a good example of synergies within SfC

Five questions to Manuel Wirth, Sustainability Analyst at Forma Futura (Switzerland)


What has worked well in the engagement with Lindt & Sprüngli?

We think this engagement is a good example of how the synergies of the SfC network can be used. Indeed, a member of the SfC network put us in touch with a cocoa expert from Südwind, a German NGO. This exchange was very helpful in building knowledge and formulating concrete and compelling demands to Lindt & Sprüngli.

How did the company defend itself against the accusation of abusing child labour in its supply chain?

The company didn’t deny that child labour existed in its supply chain. However, the problem was presented as a systemic problem requiring the actions of others as well. This is not wrong. But by repeatedly referring to its ongoing activities to address the issue (the ‘Farming Program’, income diversification etc.), the company implied that it is already doing enough to address child labour, which is what we dispute.

Why do you think that the company’s response is unsatisfactory?

The responses were evasive and general, passing the responsibility to others. But what disappointed us most was that the company left some of our key points unanswered, namely, questions about cocoa pricing, premiums for farmers and long-term contracts that would secure better incomes for farmers

How many SfC members cooperated in the engagement and how did they cooperate?

In total, three members collaborated directly on the engagement and added some comments to the engagement letter to Lindt & Sprüngli. Additionally, we also received additional support from members who are not invested in the company, who supported the cause and referred us to an external expert, as mentioned above.

Which will be your next steps?

The engagement file has been closed for the time being, but we remain in contact with Lindt & Sprüngli. Indeed, Forma Futura is currently conducting a sustainability analysis of the company and will consider the quality of this engagement in deciding whether Lindt & Sprüngli will continue to be part of its investment universe.