International Cocoa Council welcomes EU drive on tackling deforestation

The Ivory Coast-based International Cocoa Council (ICCO) has welcomed a policy initiative from the EU targeting increased action on deforestation within industry supply chains.

In devising the scheme, the EU explained its motivation was to create a more coherent and comprehensive approach to the problem. It said that the initiative seeks to increase the coherence of existing EU policies and tools, taking full advantage of synergies across policy areas and better mainstreaming deforestation considerations throughout relevant EU policies.

As part of forming an overall strategy, the EU has recently concluded a survey period with industry stakeholders which it will use to devise its policies on the issue.

Informed by sector feedback, the scheme will aim to promote sustainable value chains, as well as evaluate the role of finance and investments, including transparency and traceability, plus monitoring of supply chains. It is hoped that coherent strategies will be put in place, which will work with existing policies including the recently agreed Cocoa and Forests initiative, which has been signed by major cocoa producing and chocolate businesses including Mondelez International, Mars Wrigley, Barry Callebaut and Ferrero amongst others.

In a statement, the ICCO said it acknowledges the contribution of the cocoa sector in terms of sustainable development goals, which need to be balanced against wider economic and environmental considerations.

“We resolve to task the ICCO Secretariat with taking all appropriate measures to establish a dialogue with the European Union and other ICCO importing member countries, with the aim of setting up a platform enabling all relevant stakeholders within the world cocoa economy to join forces and scale up their common actions on the issue of deforestation.

“We also resolve to encourage ICCO Member countries to implement and contribute to enforce policies and practices that ensure environmental protection, including anti- deforestation and reforestation measures, soil protection, and agroforestry systems,” adding that it would seek to encourage the European Union to strengthen its policy dialogue and cooperation with commodity-exporting countries by developing tailored approaches taking into consideration country-specific rural development challenges, such as forestry and rural land tenure legislations.

The ICCO said it will seek to remind the European Union that the cocoa ecosystem plays an important role in the reforestation of affected areas and to improve the natural equilibrium of its social and economic surroundings.

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