European Cocoa Association seeks EU sustainability action

The European Cocoa Association (ECA) has called on the EU to deliver clear mandatory due diligence targeting sustainability across the sector’s entire value chain, reports Neill Barston.

As the trade organisation explained to Confectionery Production, its members plea to the European authority was made as part of a special virtual seminar session with key industry figures.

The sustainable corporate governance seminar started with opening remarks by the ECA Chairman and President of Cargill, Harold Poelma, and included Heidi Hautala, Vice-President of the European Parliament.

Other speakers included Tomislav Ivančić, Advisor, Global Value Chains & Responsible Business Conduct at the Food &, Agriculture Organisation of the UN, Duncan Brack, Environmental Policy Analyst & Adviser, and Doru Frantescu, Co-founder & CEO of VoteWatch Europe.

The session included discussions on the European Parliament report on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability, and what is expected of businesses from this upcoming legislation.

Furthermore, it also welcomed presentations on the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains and on the lessons learned from other EU legislations that are already in force. It also examined how this could be applied to the cocoa sector.

The second session welcomed a presentation on the EU decision making process, notably on how the EU institutions work, what are their legislative powers and procedures, and how to achieve an effective and successful lobbying strategy at the EU level.

ECA Members believe that to achieve sector-wide change, all actors involved in the supply chain must take bold commitments on sustainability, while conducting due diligence in their operations.

According to the ECA, EU due diligence mandatory legislation should be cross-sectorial and apply to all companies placing cocoa and cocoa derived products on the EU market. In the association’s view, such sector obligations should not be restricted to the first placers but should extend throughout the supply chain.

Consequently, the association has called on the EU to define requirements and processes for implementing such legislation at a commercial level, suggesting

ECA Members call on the EU to clearly define a minimum set of requirements with regard to the necessary processes and where needed, complement these with sector specific guidance documents.

To facilitate the implementation of the Due Diligence requirements, the EU and producing countries should conclude partnership agreements to ensure that an enabling environment across the whole cocoa sector will be reached.

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