UTZ becomes International Cocoa Initiative’s first nonprofit partner

By Oliver Nieburg contact

- Last updated on GMT

ICI works with chocolate companies such as Mars to prevent unlawful child labor in West African cocoa communities. Photo: ICI
ICI works with chocolate companies such as Mars to prevent unlawful child labor in West African cocoa communities. Photo: ICI
Certification program UTZ has become the first non-industry partner of the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI).

ICI – whose partners include Mondelēz, Mars and Ferrero – recently allowed civil society organizations to join as ‘nonprofit contributing partners’.

ICI already allows NGOs, academics and civil society members on its board, but previously only manufacturers, processors, traders and retailers could be contributing partners.

‘Expanding efforts’

Borjana Pervan, ​head of communications at ICI, told ConfectioneryNews the arrangement allowed non-profits to collaborate with ICI operationally.

“We hope that this new category of ICI-affiliation will bring more like-minded actors with a commitment to child protection and cocoa sustainability into our coalition, that it will also bring new actors with innovative perspectives into our collective learning process, and that it brings additional resources to our expanding efforts,”​ she said.

UTZ is the largest cocoa certifier by volume making up an esimated 56% of global certified volumes in 2015. It will merge with Rainforest Alliance​ later this year to increase its share to roughly 79%. Some volumes overlap due to multi-certification, so these estimates are certainly overestimated.

The merged entity will operate as Rainforest Alliance.

ICI’s structure

ICI is a non-profit foundation focused on child protection in cocoa-growing communities. 

It has established child labor monitoring and remediation systems​ (CLMRS) in cocoa communities for Nestlé, Cargill, Olam and Barry Callebaut, among others.

ICI and UTZ warned in June this year​ recent sharp declines in cocoa prices could put children at increased risk of child labor unless more is done.

ICI has adopted the following structure after permitting ‘nonprofit contributing partners’:

ici structure
Source: ICI

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