The sustainable cocoa initiative follows two years of discussions, where all sides have committed to a set of concrete time-bound actions to improve the sustainability of the cocoa supply chain in West Africa.
These actions aim to halt deforestation and child labour and improve the living income for farmers.
The EU’s Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “The Sustainable Cocoa Initiative is a remarkable development. Together with our African partners, we have built a movement for positive change that can benefit everyone: farmers, industry, traders and consumers alike.
“Today we are taking the next step forward: endorsing a strong Sustainable Cocoa Alliance with a concrete action plan. As the world's largest importer of cocoa, the EU has a clear responsibility to ensure that the chocolate and cocoa we eat is sustainably produced. This Alliance represents a fine example of the EU’s approach to making trade more sustainable: working with our partners to make a real difference.”
Importantly, the Alliance will also help producing countries and the cocoa sector prepare for the implementation of the forthcoming EU legislation on deforestation and corporate sustainability due diligence.
Speaking about the interrelation between economic prosperity and environmental and social sustainability, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “As the world is confronting an unprecedented global food crisis, triggered by Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine, resilience and sustainability of supply chains has become a pressing priority.
“Encouraging regular dialogue among local producers and policymakers in Africa and in Europe creates added value for the whole cocoa sector.
“Through the new ‘Alliance for Sustainable Cocoa’, supported under the Global Gateway, we can implement innovative solutions to achieve both sustainable and ethical cocoa production practices.
In a statement, the EU said The Cocoa Talks - and the ensuing Alliance of stakeholders and roadmap - represent an example of innovative ways of working together to implement sustainable trade and development policies and turn some of the objectives of the Green Deal into reality.
Alex Assanvo, Executive Secretary of the Cote d'Ivoire Ghana Cocoa Initiative, said: “With joint agreement on the critical need to rebalance value chains, the Alliance for Sustainable Cocoa offers us a timely opportunity to act together to strengthen the economic dimension of sustainable cocoa value chains and deliver to farmers a price fully aligned with a living income.“