French government launches new initiative for sustainable cocoa

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

The French initiative is the result of long-standing work by the entire cocoa sector. Pic: Fairtrade International
The French initiative is the result of long-standing work by the entire cocoa sector. Pic: Fairtrade International

Related tags: Sustainability

The French government has recently updated its commitment for sustainable cocoa with a new initiative that brings together the State, industry companies, traders, distribution brands, civil society organisations, research institutes working in the cocoa and chocolate sector in France.

The latest French Initiative is also part of a national strategy to combat imported deforestation (SNDI), adopted on 14 November, 2018, to end in 2030 the import of unsustainable forest or agricultural products contributing to deforestation. 

Represented by the French Secretary of State for Biodiversity, Bérangère Abba, the Chocolate Union, NGOs, research institutes and distributors have signed joint commitments for decisive action on sustainable cocoa. It comes one year after the launch by the United Nations of the decade of action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the call to launch coalitions for sustainable sectors.

The French initiative is the result of long-standing work by the entire sector and of multi-stakeholder consultation.

A release from the French Development Agency (AFD) said that by signing this initiative, “the founding signatories wish to fully commit to a prosperous and sustainable cocoa farming for the benefit of producers and the entire sector, in line with the steps taken in other European countries such as as Beyond Chocolate (Belgium), Gisco (Germany), Swissco (Switzerland) and Disco (Netherlands)​.”

The aim of the Initiative is to collaborate more closely to find lasting solutions, beyond the individual and collective actions already deployed.

The AFD said it invites all the actors and partners of the French cocoa sector to join this dynamic.

Initiative main commitments:

  • improve the income of cocoa farmers and their families, so that they can achieve a decent income (within the meaning of the “Living Income Community of Practice”) by 2030 at the latest, in collaboration with producer countries
  • end, with all the stakeholders, by 2025 at the latest, the supplies of the French cocoa industry, and those of its partners, from deforested areas after January 1, 2020, fight against the degradation of forests and preserve forest areas and areas of high environmental value remaining
  • take the necessary measures to fight and make progress against forced labour and child labour, as defined by ILO conventions, in cocoa-growing regions by 2025, as part of the implementation implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7 (end child labour, forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking), while helping to promote children's rights and their access to education. They will also contribute to the emancipation of women within the cocoa sector.

The AFD also said that the signatories will work on the development of a governance text and provide for the adoption of an action plan by 1 March, 2022.

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