The October 23-24 meeting in Berlin, Germany, will feature conversations focused on the importance of key partnerships, strong policy initiatives and joint investment in the future.
Leaders of the industry will gather alongside sustainability experts, government officials and some of the biggest names in chocolate to swap ideas, face pressing issues and share data from personal experience.
Suppliers including Olam, Cargill and Barry Callebaut and Mars Wrigley, are among the sponsors. In addition to Hershey and Mondelez, Luker Chocolate and Campana National de Chocolate are supporting this year’s two-day event.
Day one will begin with a conversation about child labor in the sector through the lens of ‘transformative partnerships and new approaches,’ followed by a lookback at CocoaAction, WCF's voluntary program to align the sustainability goals of each level of the supply chain.
WCF annual partnership meetings
Since 2004, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) has tackled a variety of sustainability topics and the responsibility of businesses to ensure long-term success. In its first four years, the talks revolved around best-farming practices and economic development, while other years shared case studies from Latin America (2008) to Ghana (2011) in growing the sector or encouraging diversity.
The discussion of 2014 took on certification standards, followed by a series of future-looking ideas since 2016 – balancing people, planet and profit ‘in a changing world,’ for instance, or the following year’s technology and innovation bent.
Attendees then have the chance to discuss these stories in breakout sessions geared toward the role retailers can play in affecting change and the need to help raise farmers’ voices.
The second ‘driver of change’ – strong business and policy environment – will welcome several industry voices.
Michel Arrion of the International Cocoa (ICCO) on the organization’s new vision. A lawyer from Fern, a nonprofit supporting responsible forest use, will discuss the European Union’s progress in developing sustainable supply chains with experts from the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the European Commission’s international cooperation and development arm.
Joseph Boaden Aidoo of Ghana’s COCOBOD and Yves Brahima Koné of Côte d’Ivoire’s Conseil du Café-Cacao will share insight to West Africa’s policy reforms.
Other topics include land tenure, the potential of blockchain and the growth of Latin America’s cocoa sector.
On the second day, representatives from the Tropical Forest Alliance, which promotes collaboration among government, private and civil entities, and Touton will sit down with the World Wildlife Fund’s conservation director Kavita Prakash-Mani.
Additional conversations will focus on how cocoa can learn from other agricultural industries, where technology fits into future farms, and why growers can benefit from diversified incomes – an achievable reality if governments work closely with civil society groups as well as private investment in science, innovation and education.
Both members of WCF and non-members are welcome to attend; government workers or employees of NGOs receive a discounted rate.