NÖM takes steps towards sustainability
Image: Niederösterreichische Molkerei (NÖM)
Niederösterreichische Molkerei (NÖM) in Austria receives milk from 2,500 farms in regional proximity to its plants. However, reaching the dairy’s cocoa farmers is more complex.
“We bear responsibility, which must not end with our regional Nöm family businesses in the local dairy industry. Therefore, at Nöm, the best, regional Nöm milk meets fair-trade West African cocoa from sustainable cultivation,” says Veronika Breyer, head of marketing at the dairy.
All Nöm cocoa products already bear the Fairtrade cocoa seal, where 4.7 million tons of cocoa are harvested worldwide every year, 60% of it in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Fairtrade cooperatives grow around 609,000 tons of cocoa. However, only a third is currently traded under Fairtrade conditions, which means with a stable minimum price and an additional premium.
Breyer and purchasing manager Lukas Assmair went to visit the Ivory Coast. They were able to find out first hand the importance of the cocoa minimum price and talk to the cocoa farmers about the importance of fair wages.
“It’s good to see the positive effects this fair trade has on the lives of the local people and how proud the Fairtrade farmers are of their high-quality product,” reports Assmair.
“We visited a tree nursery in the interior of the Ivory Coast, planted cocoa ourselves, harvested it together with the farmers, accompanied the fermentation, drying, quality controls and collection up to loading into the containers in the port city of Abidjan and learned a lot from the individual cooperatives, which also report to us with concern about declining sales of the certified goods,” Breyer notes. “We could see how a school was built with the simplest means but with the financial possibilities from the cooperation or how a single water well supplies an entire village.”
“Being able to experience the effects of a fair value chain in a country like the Ivory Coast so closely was special and encourages me to continue to prioritise the best qualified suppliers with high-quality raw materials for Nöm,” Assmair says.