World Cocoa Foundation confirms new president to continue cocoa sustainability mission

The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) has named experienced non-profit sector professional Martin Short as its new president to continue its mission of driving cocoa supply chain sustainability, writes Neill Barston.

As the organisation, which addresses major sector issues including tackling child labour and seeking to raise farmer incomes, deforestation, explains, its new leader takes over from Rick Scobey, who has moved to become executive director of environmental group Traffic, earlier this summer.

Short (pictured below), a British national, takes up his role next week, having held leadership positions in the non-profit and private sectors, including a recent position as Chief Executive Officer at The Power of Nutrition, a United Kingdom and U.S.-based non-profit institution. It works in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia to improve nutritional welfare and the care of children under five-years old as well as for mothers of a birthing age.

In addition, Short had previously held leadership positions at UBS Group AG, a Swiss multinational investment bank and Lions Head Global Partners, a frontier and emerging market investment bank.

He joins ahead of the WCF’s latest annual partnership meeting, which will once again be online this year amid the pandemic, taking place between November 17-18, addressing key cocoa sector sustainability issues.

“I am both honoured and delighted to be joining the World Cocoa Foundation at this decisive moment as there is a great opportunity to make important strides in bringing sustainability to all aspects of the cocoa supply chain,” Short said. “WCF plays a critical role in the convening of governments, companies, civil society and cocoa-growing communities around collective action and a shared vision. I therefore look forward to leading it to achieve its objective of a thriving and sustainable cocoa sector, where farmers prosper, communities are empowered, and the planet is healthy.”

WCF Chairman Barry Parkin, who led the search process, noted that Short’s appointment comes at an important time for sustainability efforts by cocoa and chocolate companies. Cocoa prices are under pressure amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and this has undermined farmer incomes. Public-private efforts to stop deforestation and restore degraded lands have advanced but further progress is needed. Company and government efforts to combat child labor have shown they work and need to be expanded significantly.

In addition, consuming countries are considering legislation that will seek to address some of the inequalities within the cocoa supply chain and the World Cocoa Foundation will be working closely with its industry partner associations to ensure these new regulations are workable, efficient, and effective.

“As a leader in the private and non-profit sectors, Martin has shown that collaboration and partnerships produce results, and this will be critical to further WCF’s strategy of driving change through collective action,” said Parkin. “Martin has a deep understanding of value chains in public and private sectors and the interlinkages between sectors that impact lives and livelihoods. This will be crucial in the years ahead to achieve measurable advances for cocoa-growing communities around the world and I look forward to working with Martin to take the work of WCF to the next level.”


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