Joining forces for sustainable cocoa

The Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa has officially launched, which aims to improve the lives of people working in the sector and promote sustainability.

Chocosuisse, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and non-governmental organisations, such as Swisscontact and Helvetas, have signed a Declaration of Intent to promote sustainability in the cocoa sector.

Beat Vonlanthen, president of the sector’s association, the CVP councillor of state, explains, “Both Chocosuisse and our member companies have been committed to sustainably source cocoa for years now, but there is still a lot to do. By inviting other actors to help reach our goals, we allow for common responsibility.”

A key element of the Declaration of Intent is the goal that by the year 2025 80% of the country’s imported cocoa products will come from sustainable production. Another objective is to promote the dialogue between the local authorities and organisations in producing countries. The latter should also receive support and be encouraged to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and their families.

Elmar Ledergerber, president of Helvetas, adds, “Various Swiss development organisations have been working with Swiss chocolate manufacturers for years to guarantee a secure income and establish transparent value-added chains for the families of small farmers. This work has just received an extra boost thanks to this new, broadly set up multi-stakeholder initiative.”

The cocoa platform’s aim is to improve the living conditions of cocoa producers and to create a better cocoa sector for the current and future generations. Its activities will focus on the following areas: common projects and promotion of innovation supports the development and realisation of joint initiatives.

A first step will be to set up expert groups around the following topics: climate resilience and biodiversity, traceability of cocoa butter, funding instruments, and measures to reduce the cadmium level in cocoa beans; international alignment and stakeholder dialogue: the effective reinforcement of sustainability along the cocoa value added chain requires intensive cooperation across the borders both with actors in producing countries and in international bodies; the task of the information and knowledge centre is to monitor and report on the accomplishment of jointly set goals. Another focus point is the exchange of knowledge and elaborating best practice guidelines.

The Cocoa Platform will be an independent association, with representatives from all relevant actors, as of January 2018. Until then, a transitory executive committee, with representatives from the chocolate sector, trade, research institutes, development organisations and the Swiss confederation, is responsible for the strategic leadership.

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