Caobisco calls for collective due diligence to support cocoa sector sustainability

Caobisco, the trade association for the European chocolate, biscuits and confectionery manufacturing sector, has issued a statement calling for collective due diligence across the industry’s supply chain to address key human rights and environmental issues.

As the organisation noted, its members, which include more than 13,000 companies across the region, are committed to ensuring that their products are manufactured responsibly and to the highest standards.

They are also focused on minimising their impact and respecting the human rights of those in their value chains, which has been reflected in a number of private initiatives aimed at empowering farmers and their respective cocoa growing communities. Such schemes aim to help key producing nations including Ghana and Ivory Coast, become more productive and climate-resilient, protect the environment, combat deforestation, and respect human rights in the supply chain.

The Caobisco statement added that sustainability initiatives need to be accompanied by due diligence systems in order to identify and address social and environmental risks and impacts, seeking greater transparency along the supply chain. In addition the organisation said its members support an EU-wide due diligence approach, aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and with the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains.

Furthermore, the trade group’s members also support a comprehensive EU strategy that creates the enabling environment required to make progress. The EU must engage in dialogue with the respective origin countries to create the right framework of agreement needed to drive change.

Caobisco said that it believes due diligence is a shared responsibility for all supply chain actors, who must act collectively to achieve a sustainable industry from “farm to fork” and to address systemic environmental and human rights issues.

As Confectionery Production has previously reported, major sustainability initiatives from Mars, Nestle, Mondelez International, and Barry Callebaut, with its Forever Chocolate programme, have all raised specific targets over the next decade to bring about tangible change for those working on the frontline of the cocoa sector within key producing nations. These have examined major pressing issues including increasing farmer payments (including supporting the recently created Living Income Differential model proposed by African governments to directly improve wages), as well as measures designed to tackle the ongoing issue of child labour used within the sector.

Another recent initiative that has chimed with Caobisco’s aims, is the “Beyond Chocolate” partnership, which has been flagged as the first key outcome of the Belgian SDG Charter for International Development, which has been signed by more than 100 companies, civil society organisations and public sector representatives.

Significantly, the Charter signatories have expressed a commitment to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals in full in their main business activity and participate actively in multi-stakeholder partnerships. Consequently, companies operating within the Belgian chocolate and retail sectors will collaborate with civil society organisations and authorities to enable action on its collective targets that aim to further improve sustainability of the cocoa industry.



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