Cocoa coalition of key confectionery brands welcomes EU progress on deforestation legislation

A cocoa coalition of chocolate companies including Ferrero, Hershey, Mars Wrigley, Mondelēz International, Nestle, and Tony’s Chocolonely, alongside Fairtrade International and Rainforest Alliance have welcomed EU progress on deforestation regulations, reports Neill Barston.

The group of key confectionery sector businesses also features other major stakeholders including Solidaridad, VOICE Network and the International Cocoa Initiative, and is calling for urgent action on stringent environmental measures to prevent further impact on major frontline agricultural supply chains including in Ghana and Ivory Coast.

However, the gains on the environment come as the EU’s planned parallel due diligence frameworks on human rights (which is seen as a vital part of tackling child labour in supply chains), which were due to be instituted in June, and then pushed back until October, have reportedly disappeared from its agenda.

It is believed they have been delayed indefinitely in what has been seen by some observers as a ‘win for corporate lobbyists’ who are said to be against the enforcement of strict rules that would potentially impact on industry with additional duties coming from delivering increased levels of transparency.

As regards the renewed progress on fresh legislation from the EU relating to deforestation aims to build on its 2003 EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade framework, focus on illegal logging, strengthening specific calls for protecting forests.

Consequently, the EU Commission said it is set to establish forest partnerships with relevant partner countries as appropriate, with their main objective being to protect, restore and/or ensure the sustainable use of forest in a comprehensive and integrated way to deliver on the European Green Deal priorities as well as EU’s development cooperation objectives like poverty alleviation, good governance, human rights.

They will promote forest governance and policy reforms to pursue sustainable forest management and contribute to halting
deforestation and forest degradation.

According to the cocoa coalition, the EU’s latest legislative move is a strong step in the right direction. The group of businesses said: “We believe that it represents an important and courageous step forward in driving the necessary transformation of the cocoa and chocolate sector, by helping to minimise the risk of deforestation associated with cocoa and cocoa derivatives (among other commodities and products) placed on the EU market. Many of its elements are in line with the position paper it published in October 2021.

“Its implications and impacts need to be considered carefully. We call on the whole value chain to contribute, through their engagement, in making this legislative initiative a success in effectively minimising deforestation and in contributing to a just transition to a sustainable cocoa sector, particularly for smallholder cocoa farmers. We look forward to discussing the proposals in detail with the Commission, members of the European Parliament and representatives of member-state governments.”

Furthermore, the coalition added that it is important that the provisions in the regulation are complemented by a broader EU-level framework for human rights and environmental due diligence. In its view, this should be’ published without further delay’ and called on the Commission to engage with stakeholders in finding a way forward as rapidly as possible.


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