The members of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) aim at promoting sustainable cocoa production through joint activities in the producing areas and a more intense exchange on existing experiences. Therefore GISCO defined what sustainable cocoa means.

The objective of the multi-stakeholder initiative is:

Furthermore, the GICSO members are committed to support the work of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa through twelve specific goals. They comprise both social and ecological matters as well as the joint pursuit of aligned goals. Also, the GISCO members are committed to increase the share of cocoa sourced from certified farms in their own chocolate products.

12 specific goals of GISCO members

GISCO members commit to the work of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa at all levels. We are jointly committed to,

1.  constantly improving the income situation of cocoa farming households in the producing countries, so that all households can earn a living income. We are jointly committed to enable at least 90% of households, whose main occupation is cocoa cultivation and who supply members of German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa with cocoa that is sold or processed in Germany (1), to earn a living income by 2030. Together we develop strategies to achieve this goal.

2.  improving the productivity of cocoa cultivation and the quality of cocoa.

3.  supporting governments and other stakeholders in the development of holistic regional agricultural programs in order to create alternatives to cocoa cultivation and thus counteract overproduction.

4.  promoting the development and use of sustainable and diversified production systems, in particular agroforestry systems, which conserve natural resources as well as ending the application of hazardous (2) and/or unauthorized pesticides.

5.  ending deforestation (3) and contributing to conservation of forests and biodiversity, and to reforestation.

6.  abolishing prohibited child labour (4), forced labour, slavery and human trafficking in cocoa production. 

7.  the enhancement of gender equality and improvement of opportunities for women and young people in the cocoa sector.

8.  ensuring that corporate members (5) of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa implement human rights (6) and environmental (7) due diligence in their cocoa supply chains by the end of 2025.

9.  the strengthening of governments, farmer organizations and civil society in the cocoa value chain in the producing countries.

10.  the entire cocoa in cocoa-containing end products sold in Germany to come from sustainable cultivation in the long term.

11.  ensuring that, by 2025, at least 95 % of cocoa in the cocoa-containing end products sold by our producing members in Germany is certified in line with sustainability standards (8) or comes from sustainability programmes that are independently verified (9).

12.  promoting multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaboration for more sustainability, networking, sharing information and experience, learning from each other and reporting on progress in achieving objectives and applying best practices.

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(1) Including for export

(2) Hazardous pesticides include as minimum requirement all substances which (1) are listed as “persistent
organic pollutants (POPs)” in the Stockholm Convention within the Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention and/or the Montreal Protocol, (2) are classified by WHO as A1 or 1B, (3) are listed in the “Dirty Dozen” of PAN, or (4) are identified by UN-GHS as substances with “chronic toxicity”. In addition, specifically for cocoa cultivation, they include pesticides that are not permitted for use in export goods to EU countries. (Further definition as for agroforestry systems will be included within the KPIs.)

(3) According to FAO, deforestation is the conversion of forest to another land use or the long-term reduction of tree canopy cover below the 10% threshold.

(4) Prohibited child labour is child labour as defined in ILO Conventions 138 and 182. According to the ILO, child labour includes formal or informal work undertaken by people under the age of 18 in the private or public sector with or without pay. If this violates statutory standards (e.g. age restrictions or maximum working hours), it counts as child labour.

(5) Members who trade or process > 100 t of cocoa per year.

(6) Human rights due diligence in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

(7) Environmental due diligence in accordance with the OECD/FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains.

(8) Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Utz Certified, Bio, e.g. Naturland Fair

(9) The term ‘independently verified’ will be defined and substantiated with criteria. The Executive Board will decide to define and verify corporate programmes. Any changes to the targets in individual goal 11 as a result of this will be agreed at the General Meeting in 2024.