24 Jun 2021

A collective call for a more sustainable cocoa sector


In order to tackle the interrelated challenges facing cocoa farmers, a combination of policy measures is needed, including creating long-term partnership agreements between governments of cocoa-producing countries and those of major chocolate-consuming countries.

So says a new statement and position paper shared by the cocoa advocacy organization, VOICE Network. Fairtrade International joined VOICE along with a group of chocolate companies and organisations to urge the European Commission to pursue a bilateral agreement with cocoa-producing countries that prioritises sustainable supply chains for people and planet.

Current critical challenges, such as earning a living income, human rights abuse and environmental degradation are prevalent in the cocoa sector. To tackle them, a combination of policy measures at EU and sourcing country level is needed. They need to both ensure companies take action, but also help address the root causes of complex issues such as child labour.

It is worth highlighting that to arrive at realistic and impactful solutions, these long-term partnership agreements must involve all relevant stakeholders, including local community representatives, farmers, industry, and civil society.

As per our joint position paper, the objectives of these partnership agreements should be to:

1. Clarify what is needed to establish a sustainable cocoa sector within the producer-country partner and what different actors in the supply chain need to do to achieve it.

2. Set out the changes in governance, including transparency, and policy, and/or improved enforcement of existing policies, that would be needed to produce cocoa sustainably.

3. Put in place incentive and support mechanisms, including funding, to ensure that the required policy changes and measures are implemented.

4. Establish monitoring systems to assess the impacts of the policy changes and measures and ensure that any unintended negative consequences for people or the environment are avoided.

Read the full position paper.

Want to learn more? Read our 2020 paper: Promoting living incomes in the cocoa sector: Policy options for consumer countries