World Cocoa Foundation to call for more sector alignment at Amsterdam conference

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

World Cocoa Foundation President Chris Vincent. Pic: WCF
World Cocoa Foundation President Chris Vincent. Pic: WCF

Related tags WCF Cocoa Sustainability Chocolate

‘Aligning for Global Action’ is the theme for The World Cocoa Foundation’s 2024 Partnership Meeting, the leading global industry event in sustainable cocoa, which this year takes place in the Beurs van Berlage (Old Stock Exchange) in Amsterdam from 6 to 7 February, with ConfectioneryNews confirmed as the official conference media partner.

Early-bird registrations​ are still open for the two-day event that will set out a clear agenda for greater sustainability in the sector, bringing together cocoa farmers and experts from companies, governments, academia, civil society, and media in a single forum for discussion, collaboration and shared progress in a dialogue meant to help the industry align for global action.

Sustainability is the clear imperative of the cocoa sector. And yet, even as stakeholders align on calls for sustainability, driving progress can seem complex and elusive. Accelerating sustainability across the sector requires all stakeholders to play their roles – and understand one another’s needs. The forces shaping social, economic, and environmental sustainability for cocoa go well beyond the sector itself. And so, strong collaboration requires open minds, innovative thinking, and trust in common goals​,” the WCF said in a statement.

48 hours in Amsterdam

To continue strengthening these foundations, the WCF will use its authority to gather important industry players under one roof for 48 hours of high-level discussion with Chris Vincent, WCF President, opening the conference with a plenary session where he is expected to outline the alignment theme and importance of the cocoa sector as a crucial stakeholder in the development towards sustainability in cocoa producing countries.

The issue is much broader than cocoa, and if we want to have an impact towards our sustainability objectives, we must align. Aligning within the cocoa sector with other sectors and stakeholders, such as governments and civil society, will be the way forward​,” he will inform WCF partners.

The 2024 WCF Partnership Meeting aims to contribute to discussions on several material, much discussed topics in the cocoa sector. The plenary sessions consist among others of the PM’s signature sessions:

  • Farmer panel
  • Fire side chats with the CEO’s of the cocoa authorities of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana
  • Fire side chats with policy makers of EU and US
  • C-Suite session
  • Closing session with chairpersons of main industry associations and NGO’s.

The breakout sessions are based on the three areas in which the WCF is playing a leading convening role throughout the cocoa sector to build strategic relationships and collaborative, transformative programmes in partnership with producing country governments: deforestation, child labour and farmer revenue.

In a show of greater collaboration between organisations, the WCF is partnering with CHOCOA​, the foremost industry conference for sustainable chocolate, to create a weeklong Amsterdam Cocoa Week. As the largest cocoa port in the world, Amsterdam is the hub connecting producers and consumers. It also serves as a centre for innovative thinking on sustainability in the cocoa supply chain.

Combining our World Cocoa Foundation Partnership Meeting and CHOCOA will propel us into 2024 in an exciting fashion. It will allow all of us globally across the sector to align and find new ways forward as we transition toward the shared objective of truly sustainable cocoa​,” said Vincent.

Farmer income

On the final day, the WCF will also present a special session: The Trilogy of Farmer Income (Part 1 of 3), bringing two other major cocoa conferences, the Amsterdam Sustainable Cocoa Conference at Chocoa and the World Cocoa Conference by ICCO, to the table.

ConfectioneryNews understands ​the sessions are interrelated and each take a specific approach to the issue: the discussion at WCF PM is about the market driven, economic factors that contribute to farmer income (including diversification and agroforestry), the discussion at CHOCOA is about the non-market driven factors, such as cash transfers and Village Loan and Saving Associations (VLSAs). The third one at ICCO is more price oriented

These events are the perfect occasions to stage panel discussions that contribute to progress on one of the major topics in the cocoa sector, farmer income​,” the WCF said in the programme notes.

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