Swiss platform for sustainable cocoa elects Filippo Veglio as president

The Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa, a national industry body of manufacturers, cocoa traders and retailers, has elected Filippo Veglio as its new president at a meeting of its general assembly.

As the organisation has reported to Confectionery Production, one of its core goals remains supporting farmer communities in terms of helping deliver a living income for them in key markets, with nearly two thirds of supplies coming from Ghana and Ivory Coast in West Africa.

Founding President Ernst A. Brugger has stepped down following the Cocoa Platform’s successful initial two-year phase. The members of the Platform said at the second General Assembly they were pleased at the positive results achieved over the first two years.  The General Assembly, held virtually this year because of COVID restrictions, elected Filippo Veglio as Brugger’s successor in a written procedure.

With many years of experience, particularly in his current role as Managing Director of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Veglio has gained valuable experience in multi-stakeholder processes, which he will now bring into managing and further developing the Platform.

“I look forward to working with all Platform stakeholders. We need to strengthen our efforts in order to achieve the Cocoa Platform’s long-term goal: ensuring that all cocoa imported into Switzerland is sourced from sustainable production. To that end, we will continue to concentrate on the four most urgent challenges: Working to achieve a living income for cocoa farmers and their families, avoidance of the worst forms of child labour, the preservation of existing forests and protected areas, and transparency and traceability in the value chain.”

Veglio and the members of the Board expressed their thanks to Brugger for his outstanding work in establishing the Platform and the results he achieved. To strengthen European collaboration, the Cocoa Platform signed a memorandum of understanding in June 2020 with two partner initiatives in Germany and Belgium.

Veglio said: “We will try to expand these activities over the next few years and work with our European partners to increase our leverage in the global value chain.” The three countries in the European partnership account for about 19% of cocoa imports worldwide.

The second General Assembly of the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa therefore devoted the thematic section of its discussions to the issue of a living income for cocoa farmers. Cocoa accounts for the livelihood of more than 40 million farmers worldwide. More than 80% of them are small farmers, who for the most part still live below the poverty line, especially in West Africa (Ghana and the Ivory Coast), the source of roughly two-thirds of global cocoa production. Despite considerable efforts, the living conditions of cocoa farmers and their families remain difficult.

“This deep-rooted and structural poverty requires a holistic approach,” said outgoing President Brugger (below, left, with the new president),  “In addition to fair prices, we need to see increased productivity, product diversification and significantly better framework conditions, including clear ownership rights, access to microcredits, improved education and health care, and the promotion of women.”

This also requires intensified collaboration with partner initiatives and producer countries. Innovative projects point to promising solution approaches. In the second part of the General Assembly, two introductory presentations on the holistic concept of a living income were followed by a discussion on the experiences gained to date from the Platform’s innovative projects.

 

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