It is 16 months since the last WCF’s Partnership Meeting (PM), which was held in Brussels, when almost 400 private sector sustainability leaders, farmers, government officials, civil society representatives, and researchers from 31 countries explored the theme: ‘Partnerships for Impact.’
Despite representatives from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana pulling out of the meeting at the last minute in protest against payments related to the farmers’ Living Income Differential (LID), all parties agreed to work together to develop solutions to consolidate the LID and to achieve the transition to sustainable cocoa and also allow farmers to reap their just rewards.
Aligning for Global Action
In the intervening months, the WCF has made progress in uniting stakeholders, enough for Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana to attend the meeting next month, which will explore the theme: ‘Aligning for Global Action.’ With a new president, Chris Vincent, and changes to the board at the executive level, the WCF is in a much stronger position these days and, in 2023, pushed through additional collaborative programmes, such as the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, addressing other critical areas of cocoa sustainability.
“We will increase focus on our role as convenor to enhance collaboration and partnership between WCF members to maximize our collective impact,” the WCF said.
To continue strengthening these foundations, the WCF will remind its members and guests that 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,” it said in this year’s programme notes.
Areas that will be covered in this year’s meeting include Measuring Deforestation, Carbon & Program Impact; the new EU Deforestation Regulations (EUDR); farmer-centric agroforestry initiatives; and carbon and impact measurement in the cocoa sector.
Along with the WCF PM, 2024 will bring two other major cocoa conferences, the Amsterdam Sustainable Cocoa Conference at CHOCOA and the World Cocoa Conference by ICCO. The WCF’s meeting will include the first of a trilogy of farmer income strategies spread across the three events, with the WCF PM focusing on developing and implementing market-based policies to improve farmers' incomes.
Be part of the discussion
Speakers include Yves Brahima Koné, Executive Director, Conseil du Café Cacao; Michael Ekow Amoah, Deputy Director of Research and Development, Ghana Cocoa Board; Michel Arrion, Executive Director, International Cocoa Organization (ICCO); Paul Davis, Head of Cocoa, SUCDEN & President, European Cocoa Association; Brian McKeon, Senior Vice President of Public Policy, National Confectioners Association; Benjamin Asare, Project Manager, Fairtrade Africa.
As mentioned, this year’s meeting forms part of Amsterdam Chocolate Week. It is followed by the CHOCOA Sustainable Cocoa Conference, which will be held in the same venue from Thursday, 8 February, to Friday, 9 February.
WCF president Chris Vincent said: “Combining our World Cocoa Foundation Partnership Meeting and CHOCOA will propel us into 2024 in 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.”
- Check out the full WCF Partnership Agenda here.