A responsible company

We think about the future

Kalev sweet factory is a part of Orkla Estonia, and the international Orkla Group, one of the main pillars of which is responsible business. Sustainable and environmentally friendly thinking can be witnessed in all of our activities. We are aware that green solutions are leading the way to a better future, and that is why we are making a daily effort towards more sustainable production and developing healthier products. For many years now, we have been making efforts to protect the rainforests and set an example for other companies. We are working hard to ensure that our raw materials do not contribute to deforestation.

It is important to us to know the origin and journey of our raw materials – we value sustainability and environmentally friendly solutions in the preparation, packaging and transport as well as sale of food.
Our 2025 Sustainability Strategy focuses on how to successfully meet consumer needs, at the same time managing the environment in a sustainable way, with clear and well thought-through actions in five key areas. Sustainable economic growth is the new norm in business and industry.

Raw materials

We consider it important to make our sweets from raw materials which have been produced taking into account the interests of people, animals and the environment. Therefore, we work closely with our raw material suppliers to address social and environmental challenges.

Certified cocoa
Cocoa is the main and most important ingredient for chocolate. Cocoa trees grow only in a narrow area on either side of the equator in countries whose inhabitants are facing difficult economic and social conditions on a daily basis. This is why we consider it important to focus on sustainable and responsible cocoa farming, and in turn improving the working and living conditions of cocoa farmers.

In 2014, Kalev joined UTZ Certified, the world’s leading programme in supporting responsible and sustainable coffee, tea and cocoa farming. Since 2017, all of the cocoa required for making Kalev chocolate is certified, and all of our chocolate products have the right to use the UTZ Certified label. This label on the product indicates that the company supports responsible cocoa farming. By buying products with the UTZ label, you are also supporting that principle.

UTZ Certified is an international programme that was launched in the Netherlands in 2002.

  • UTZ means “good” in the Mayan language
  • UTZ is the world’s largest programme for responsible cocoa
  • UTZ programme members include 807,000 cocoa farmers
  • UTZ certified cocoa is produced in 18 countries, the three largest producers being Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria
  • Chocolate products carrying the UTZ label are sold in 128 countries

Why UTZ certified cocoa?
The global cocoa sector is facing many challenges: an insufficient cultivation system, ageing cocoa trees, the use of incorrect chemicals and uncontrolled deforestation, in addition to the poor working conditions and low incomes of the cocoa farmers.

UTZ-programmi eesmärgiks on tõhusalt toimiv ja jälgitav sertifitseerimissüsteem sotsiaalselt ja keskkonnaalaselt vastutustundliku kakaotootmise tarvis. UTZ-programmiga liitunud kakaokasvatajad saavad juba täna suuremat saaki ja on osavamad oma farmi majandamisel, seejuures on paranenud nii nende töötingimused kui ka jälg keskkonnale.

How does UTZ work?
With UTZ, everything begins with more skilled cultivation, which will result in increased yields, increased income, and improvements in future prospects and environmental protection. By acquiring new skills and techniques with the help of the UTZ programme, cocoa farmers are able to get more out of their land and company.

Skilled cultivation leads to greater yields, but farmers are not only producing more; they are also experiencing improved crop quality and reduced expenses.

The cocoa farmers who have joined the UTZ programme are taught how to manage their farm better, for example. As a result, they will get a better-quality crop for less outlay, are able to invest in the well-being of their families and employees, and help secure their future. 

Environmental protection also has an important role within the UTZ programme. Farmers are taught how to use land, water, raw materials and energy economically and efficiently.

UTZ requires all worker rights to be guaranteed. To that end, there are clear written criteria based on the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), and compliance with these criteria is checked on a regular basis. Among other things, all workers must get sufficient rest and wages, according to national legislation, their living conditions must be good and their work environment must be safe.

UTZ wants to ensure that all of the cocoa farmers’ children grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Specific requirements have been set for the protection and development of children, including schooling and playtime. The use of child labour is prohibited. At the training sessions, it is explained to the farmers why it is important for children to go to school, and farmers are made aware of any health hazards associated with children working on the plantations and about keeping hazardous substances, tools, and so on out of the reach of children.

Thanks to the UTZ programme, an increasing number of cocoa farmers and farm workers feel motivated, healthier and respected. They and their families have more opportunities for reaching their goals; their children go to school, and they grow up in a safe and healthy environment.

Certified palm oil
Certain varieties of sweets and biscuits are made with palm oil based fat blends, mainly for technological reasons. Palm oil is obtained from the fruit of Elaeis oil palms of the Areacacae family. The advantage of oil palms is that they produce 10 times more yield per hectare than any other oil plant, which means that they need many times less arable land to grow. Oil palms are also the main source of livelihood for tens of thousands of people in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, rainforests have been cut irresponsibly over the years to establish oil palm plantations, causing damage to the environment.

An alternative to regular palm oil is certified raw material, which comes from controlled plantations and is produced responsibly. From 2018, we purchase only vegetable fats containing sustainable certified palm oil for the sweets produced at the Kalev factory. The company is certified by RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil). In parallel, our product development department is also looking for alternatives to palm oil based vegetable fats, both technologically and in other respects.

Environmental protection

In our day-to-day activities, we are mindful of the environment. Paper and cardboard waste from production is recycled, and we collect plastic waste, hazardous chemicals, electrical equipment and municipal waste separately – all of which are disposed of in accordance with the Waste Act.

The Kalev factory has a recirculated water system that allows water to be used economically. The factory also has its own wastewater treatment system. We take great care to ensure that equipment and lighting are turned off outside working hours to avoid unnecessary energy consumption.

In 2014, the company replaced its existing passenger cars with environmentally friendly hybrid cars. Significant savings in fuel costs, a considerate attitude towards the environment and our employees spoke in favour of this choice. Our hybrid cars consume 20 per cent less fuel and emit significantly less carbon dioxide. No less important was the safety of the employees using the cars – the level of safety and comfort of hybrid cars is significantly higher than that of our previous cars.

The maintenance and safety of the factory complex and the site are also important to us. Necessary areas are surrounded with a fence; the roads as well as the landscape are maintained. The production building is marked and the roads are marked with signs, the territory is illuminated in the dark.

Already more than 60 per cent of the lighting on our territory, and at the production facility and warehouse is LED lighting, which is significantly more energy efficient and virtually maintenance free for the first five years. In addition, it increases the light intensity, which improves the working environment for our employees.

Each year we invest heavily in new production equipment, for which energy efficiency is an important criterion.

Support activity

Over the years, Kalev AS has supported many different fields, projects, events and other endeavours. Today, we mainly direct our sponsorship towards two fields: sports and culture.

As far as sports are concerned, our main focus is supporting young and talented athletes. We consider it important to promote sporting habits among young people, which is specifically why we are the main sponsor of the television programme, 10 Olümpiastarti, a sports competition that is unique in the world. We also support several large races, including charity relays, in which nearly 12,000 lower secondary school students all over Estonia race to raise money for children with mobility impairments.

We feel honoured to support the development of Estonian national culture in collaboration with the Estonian National Opera. In many ways, our partnership is to be expected: just like the Estonian National Opera is the flagship of Estonian national culture, Kalev can be considered to be something similar within the food industry. We hope that our support will help the National Opera to continue providing excellent experiences for local and foreign music and theatre enthusiasts.

We pay special attention to various events that take place in our local municipality. These include local sports competitions and various events at Jüri Secondary School.

With regard to charity, Kalev has been a long-time supporter of large Estonian families and people in need. There have been five Mesikäpp charity campaigns, Ole kah käpp, with which we have supported children with cancer in cooperation with the Estonian Association of Parents of Children with Cancer; twice we have supported children with reduced mobility in cooperation with Haapsalu Neurological Rehabilitation Centre and children with hearing impairments in cooperation with Tartu University Hospital. In addition, with the Mesikäpp campaign, we have raised money for the Anti-Bullying Foundation to support the bullying prevention programme KiVa which has proven to be effective in Estonian schools.