Sustainability approach

We are committed to a group wide strategic approach. It's founded on ethical and environmental trading for the good of communities and for our shared environment.

Sustainability pillars

Defining what matters to us

In 2019, the global Sustainability team conducted a materiality assessment to identify the issues across the business with the most significant environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impacts, and which matter most to our stakeholders. These issues were then benchmarked against our peers.

Our process

Materiality assessment

The assessment included comprehensive interviews with eight internal stakeholders, representing a variety of geographies across ECOM, including global and local members of management. We also interviewed 15 external stakeholders, representing customers, industry-level organisations, NGOs/certification bodies, a financial institution and a farmer organisation. This helped to ensure we prioritised the right set of topics.

Sustainability pillars

Human rights
Nature and climate change
Transparency and responsibility
Supply chain management
Supply chain

Boots on the Ground

The supply chain for each of our core businesses is long and complex, going from origination, to processing, to export, to warehousing and finally merchandising.

ECOM is active at each point along this journey: we’re there to support farmers and producers on the ground during the growing process, and we’re constantly innovating to extend efficiencies throughout the processing, shipping and warehousing steps, to minimise environmental impact and to make our customers’ lives easier.

We’re committed to ensuring greater transparency and traceability along the whole chain, in order to meet our own sustainability goals and the expectations of the end consumer.


Supporting a forest-positive future

Across the Group, our agronomists and environmental experts are there on the ground to help farmers at origin, providing meaningful services that support them in every aspect of their lives.

We carry out biodiversity and deforestation risk assessments throughout our supply chain, benefitting from our understanding of farm management activities and farm locations. We manage remote sensing paired with ground truthing to carry out land-use change analysis as we work to ensure traceability and combat deforestation with farmers in our supply chain.

Additionally, we carry out natural resource management and climate-smart agriculture training to engage producers in water-saving techniques, climate resilience, decarbonisation strategies, and introduce new technologies. ECOM is committed to tackling climate change by protecting and regenerating nature, optimising our natural resource management, and improving farmer resilience.


Human Rights in our supply chain

Systemic poverty is present in many farming communities around the world, and cocoa is no exception. It is well recognized that rural poverty is a root cause for numerous human rights offences, namely child and forced labour.

ECOM works through various channels to create economic emancipation to combat internationally recognized human rights breaches at farm and community levels. Just as a variety of factors contribute to poverty, it takes a number of initiatives to help eradicate it and bring prosperity to farming communities. We are working to establish a living income analysis and implement programs to bridge the gap through collaboration across supply chain stakeholders and industry.


Continual improvement

At ECOM, we are committed to conducting business in an ethical, legal, environmental, and socially responsible manner. We have a mindset of continual improvement and we regularly assess our policies to ensure we align with best practice in ethical business conduct

ECOM carries out due-diligence screening on its counterparties for sanctions and other concerns. We screen counterparties daily to ensure we are not inadvertently contracting with entities of questionable integrity or who may be on sanctions lists. When a counterparty is flagged, our compliance team assesses the alert and escalates this to the relevant business unit to determine if the business relationship should continue.

ECOM also carries out annual risk assessments across the Group to ensure antibribery and corruption compliance.


Sustainability Management Services

SMS implements sustainability programs and provides products and services for rural populations. We aim to be the leading provider of socially responsible farmer-focused solutions, services, and products. 

Our vision translates into three missions:

  • To deliver high-value services, including training, input, and technology in order to improve farmer livelihoods and build resilience in the face of climate change. 
  • To provide access to higher-quality products that enable farmers to increase their overall farm productivity and product quality.
  • To create a sustainable and transparent value chain by providing the best services to all stakeholders.

Our approach to social impact beyond our supply chains

The ECOM Foundation

ECOM Foundation for Development of Origin Resources founded in 2006, is a “501(c)(3)” public charity committed to ensuring a better life for origin producers of coffee, cotton, cocoa, and other ECOM traded commodities. Our Project directives focus on better education, health care, social services, and environmental practices to achieve long-term sustainability for rural growers and their families in producing communities.

The ECOM Foundation is committed to long-term sustainability that will provide a permanent change in producing communities. We ensure this change by working together with local non-government organizations, other public charities, corporations, and local and national governments.