The forthcoming regulation sets mandatory due diligence rules for companies selling products in the EU that are ‘associated with deforestation and forest degradation’. Along with cocoa, it targets six other commodities - beef, wood, palm oil, soya, coffee – and products derived from them such as chocolate.
Businesses will be required to collect the geographic coordinates where commodities have been produced. “This strict traceability is meant to ensure that only deforestation-free products enter the EU market,” the Commission stated.
In a statement, the Cocoa Coalition 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 we published in October 2021."
In preventing deforestation and forest degradation linked to products sold on the European market, European regulators also said the effect would cut carbon emissions linked to EU consumption by ‘at least’ 31.9m metric tons a year.
The Cocoa Coalition hopes the EC legislative will be a success in contributing “to a just transition to a sustainable cocoa sector, particularly for smallholder cocoa farmers.”
In its statement, the Cocoa Coalition said: “It is important that the provisions in the regulation are complemented by a broader EU-level framework for human rights and environmental due diligence. We hope this will be published without further delay and call on the Commission to engage with stakeholders in finding a way forward as rapidly as possible.”
The Coalition said it looks forward to discussing the proposals in detail with the Commission, members of the European Parliament and representatives of member-state governments.
The Cocoa Coalition comprises companies: Ferrero, The Hershey Company, Mars Wrigley, Mondelēz International, Nestle, Tony’s Chocolonely; xertification organisations: Fairtrade International, Rainforest Alliance; NGOs: Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Solidaridad, VOICE Network; and multi-stakeholder organisations: International Cocoa Initiative.