Global cocoa sector agrees to sustainability strategy, commits $700,000 to fight ebola

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 27th October 2014
Global cocoa sector agrees to sustainability strategy, commits $700,000 to fight ebola
Global cocoa sector agrees to sustainability strategy, commits $700,000 to fight ebola

Hundreds of members of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and leaders from the global cocoa sector have convened in Copenhagen, Denmark to take further crucial steps toward implementing a comprehensive strategy, called CocoaAction, to sustain the cocoa industry and improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

WCF leadership also announced a collective effort to support the fight against Ebola in West Africa has resulted thus far in more than $700,000 that will be donated to two non-governmental organizations, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Caritas.

WCF is an international membership foundation of more than 115 companies that promotes a sustainable cocoa economy by providing cocoa farmers with the tools they need to grow more and better cocoa, market it successfully, and make greater profits. WCF’s membership includes cocoa and chocolate manufacturers, processors, supply chain managers, and other companies worldwide, representing more than 80 percent of the global cocoa market.

CocoaAction was announced in May and is focused on helping cocoa farmers improve their productivity, and support community development initiatives in the countries of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire – the largest cocoa producing countries in the world.

CocoaAction’s goal is to work with no fewer than 300,000 cocoa farmers and their communities by 2020.

Currently 11 companies have committed to CocoaAction including ADM; Barry Callebaut; Blommer Chocolate Company; Cargill; ECOM Agrotrade Limited; Ferrero; The Hershey Company; Mars, Incorporated; Mondelēz International; Nestlé; and Olam.

Key performance indicators agreed upon

The industry has announced that it has aligned on a standard set of key performance indicators that each company will use to measure and report their progress and that WCF would consolidate to report on externally.

“Our industry is at a critical moment, and CocoaAction is our strategy to ensure that collective cocoa sustainability efforts go deeper and wider,” said Bill Guyton, President, World Cocoa Foundation.

“With CocoaAction, industry leaders are embarking on an unprecedented effort to improve farmers’ lives and ensure they benefit more from the cocoa they grow,” Mr Guyton said. “This meeting has been critical in engaging all stakeholders in helping to co-create the future of standards, measurement and certification,” he said.

Opportunity to ‘transform’ cocoa industry

Barry Parkin, Chairman of the WCF and Chief Sustainability Officer for Mars Incorporated said the agreement was a “real opportunity to transform this industry to the good of millions of farmers and their families”.

“Our strategy is called CocoaAction and we now need to move quickly to action and implementation in cocoa-growing communities,” Mr Parkin said. “We have announced a critical milestone in the agreement to a comprehensive results framework that will ensure we are held to account and that we hold each other to account on our progress against our commitments,” he said.

Outcome indicators

The outcomes of CocoaAction are centered on productivity and community development. In Copenhagen, the industry agreed to the following outcome indicators:

For Productivity

  • Number of farmers, disaggregated by gender, who are applying a minimum number of good agricultural practices
  • Number of farmers, disaggregated by gender, who are adopting recommended planning materials to rehabilitate a minimum percentage of their old or non-productive cocoa trees.
  • Number of farmers, disaggregated by gender, who are adopting recommended fertiliser and soil fertility practices on their farms.

For Community

  • Number of children participating in child labor as defined by the International Labour Organisation Convention 182.
  • Number of women in leadership positions (e.g. trainers, lead farmers, extension workers) in farmer organisations.
  • Percentage of school-age children regularly attending school.

More than 200 attendees representing the chocolate and cocoa industry, global retailers, cocoa producing country governments, nonprofit organisations, academia, and research institutes, from 23 countries, participated in more than a dozen plenaries and small group discussions during the two-day session. The Partnership Meeting also featured a Cocoa Sustainability Trade Fair, which featured information and displays about sustainability efforts being undertaken in the cocoa sector around the world. The Trade Fair was an integral part of efforts by the sector to share information and practices to assist in deepening knowledge and highlighting successful approaches.