As reported in ConfectioneryNews, the two West African heads of state met with the President of the European Parliament earlier this year regarding the proposed deforestation legislation and the risk of more farmer poverty.
In a statement the CC said: “We have consistently argued that the effectiveness of due diligence legislation, such as the proposed Deforestation Regulation and Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, will be limited unless it is coupled with the creation of the enabling environment required to make progress on sustainable cocoa farming within cocoa-producing countries.
“This covers a wide range of issues, including land and forest governance, land use planning, forest protection, children’s rights, support for farmers and farm organisations, living incomes and national traceability systems. It should also cover agricultural and rural policies, including supply management strategies and measures to offer farmers opportunities other than cocoa production, and the promotion of alternative – sustainable – agricultural models which are less export-dependent and support sustainable community forest management.
“Finally, it should explore what can be done to address the question of unstable and often low farmgate prices for cocoa. We believe that an Economic Pact could serve as a useful tool to combat poverty, which is a major driver of social and environmental issues in both countries.”
The CC warned that none of these objectives can be delivered through due diligence legislation in the EU, or even in other countries, alone.
“We believe that it is essential for the EU to pursue the establishment of long-term partnership agreements with the governments of cocoa-producing countries, ensuring that all relevant stakeholders are involved, including local community representatives, farmers, industry, and civil society,” it said.
The Coalition has urged that these partnership agreements should include time-bound frameworks for action for all parties involved.
“They should place a particular emphasis on actions at the policy level by producer governments as well as other relevant stakeholders, and include incentive mechanisms and support from the EU and its member states to ensure that the necessary actions can be implemented successfully.”
The Cocoa Coalition comprises companies (Ferrero, Hershey, Mars Wrigley, Mondelēz International, Nestle, Tony’s Chocolonely, Unilever), certification organisations (Fairtrade International, Rainforest Alliance), NGOs (Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Solidaridad, VOICE Network) and multi-stakeholder organisations (International Cocoa Initiative
It ended its latest briefing by saying the proposal by the governments of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana for an Economic Pact for Sustainable Cocoa represents a golden opportunity to pursue this objective, through effective cooperation to build this vision and scale up action, and “we urge all stakeholders and the European Commission and EU member states to respond positively”.