Ofi calls for EU to work with other regions on cocoa sustainability legislation

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Ofi said boosting cocoa yields could be a way to help farmers earn more using the same amount of land. Pic: ofi
Ofi said boosting cocoa yields could be a way to help farmers earn more using the same amount of land. Pic: ofi

Related tags Cocoa Sustainability Côte d'ivoire Ghana Cocoa bean

ofi (olam food ingredients), a global leader in naturally good food and beverage ingredients, says it has substantially advanced towards the climate goals stated in its Cocoa Compass sustainability report – but issued a call for the EU to work with other regions to prevent its supply-chain legislation from becoming a burden for the local cocoa industry.

In order to achieve the structural change required to have an impact at scale, the report makes clear that work on the ground in cocoa communities should be supported by international collaboration and regulation.

ofi shares its sustainability progress across its cocoa supply chain, achieved in collaboration with customers and partners, and benchmarked against three years of impact data. From the Brazilian Amazon to the landscapes of Cote d’Ivoire, the company has taken further steps to protect and restore forests: it distributed 1.75m trees to farmers (a 356% increase since 2017/18) and enhanced the accuracy of its deforestation monitoring, having polygon mapped two-thirds of its sustainability programmes, it claimed.

Gerry Manley, head of OFI’s cocoa business and chief sustainability officer, said a coordinated approach also is needed with growing countries so they can adopt the EU rules as production standards.

The EU plans to make companies responsible for human rights abuses and environmental harm in their supply chain, with fines and compensation claims for those who fail to act. Strict rules could put the European industry at a disadvantage if other cocoa-consuming and producing countries don’t follow suit, a recent European Cocoa Forum in Rome heard.

The legislation is there for a reason, to drive better practices​,” Manley told “What we have to do is to copy that elsewhere in the world. There needs to be that levelled-playing-field approach. If we can use that EU model, and it is fully taken by producing countries to be a standard, then I think we are in a good position.”

Ofi says most farms are still too small for growers to earn enough. The company, which has a target of having 150,000 growers in its chain earn a living income by 2030 - said boosting yields could be a way to help farmers earn more using the same amount of land.

Manley said the company can help double productivity to 700 kilograms of cocoa per hectare, and it can already can trace all the cocoa in its direct supply chain in nine countries back to an individual farm, community, or the first point of purchase -- where a farmer or cooperative is paid.

That’s about 60% of all the beans the company buys. Expanding that further will require a coordinated approach and legislation​,” he said.

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