Caobisco’s call for due diligence will maintain the spotlight on sustainability

With sustainability remaining uppermost on the agenda for many businesses within the confectionery sector, it’s encouraging to see Caobisco’s call for due diligence to ensure delivery of progress on this crucial issue.

As the trade organisation, which represents over 13,000 businesses in our sector across Europe notes, what is most required now is a concerted effort for full transparency across the entire value chain for cocoa supplies to ensure even greater results.

There has rightly been an intense focus on the issue from leading businesses including Mars, Mondelez, Nestle and Barry Callebaut, who have in recent years accelerated their respective programmes to assist key farming communities in Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Furthermore, the acknowledgement of these companies that working in tandem alongside governments in Africa and other cocoa growing locations is vital to helping solve major issues of ensuring that farming communities remain viable, as well as helping prevent the troubling issue of child labour.

While such joint initiatives represent strong steps in the right direction, perhaps the biggest recent headlines belong to the bold proposals for pure financial assistance for those who need it most – who all too often miss out.

As Confectionery Production recently reported, it takes the form of an initiative from Ghana and Ivory Coast governments for what is known as the Living Income differential. Under the scheme, an additional payment of $400 dollars per tonne of cocoa being proposed to help embattled farmers – many of whom are below the poverty line.

Though some within the industry have raised questions as to whether this is a viable measure, it has secured the backing of a number of major companies, including Barry Callebaut, which is aware as much as anyone else, that the present situation is far from sustainable.

Another business very much determined to try and make a difference is Tony’s Chocolonely, which in the past week has seen a $36 million investment into its business, which aims to deliver child labour free chocolate, pursuing a policy of paying a premium for ethically supplied sources of cocoa.

With consumers increasingly demanding complete transparency and ethical production measures, it appears that major change for the better is very much on the immediate horizon.

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