Belgium is one of the largest importers of cocoa beans in the world. The Beyond Chocolate Partnership for a sustainable Belgian chocolate industry was signed in Antwerp on 5 December 2018. With this partnership, the players committed themselves to jointly face the challenges for a sustainable cocoa sector. The focus is on protecting against deforestation, combating abusive child labour and providing a livelihood for cocoa-producing families. Among the signatories of the Beyond Chocolate Partnership are stakeholders from the chocolate industry, the public sector, retailers, NGOs, universities and trade unions.
The voluntary commitment of the signatories provides
- all chocolate produced or sold in Belgium shall comply with a recognised certification standard or be made from cocoa-containing raw materials covered by a sustainability scheme
- the Beyond Chocolate partners should comply with the agreements in force between governments and businesses in the regions involved in the Cocoa & Forests initiative
- cocoa farmers have at least a living income
- there is no longer any deforestation linked to the cultivation of cocoa for the Belgian cocoa sector
Find out more about the Beyond Chocolate partnership here.
Find out more about the activities of Beyond Chocolate in their annual report 2019.
As a fourth initiative in Europe, an initiative on sustainable cocoa was also formally established in the Netherlands on September 29. The Dutch Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (DISCO) assembles companies from the cocoa and chocolate industry, public and civil society organizations.
The objective of the Dutch platform is to achieve a living income for cocoa-growing families by 2030. By 2025, deforestation and forest destruction in connection with cocoa cultivation for Dutch customers is to be halted and effective measures to stop child labour are to be taken.
Since January 2021, DISCO is also part of the Memorandum of Understanding of the national platforms for sustainable cocoa in Europe (Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao e.V., Beyond Chocolate and Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa).
Learn more about DISCO here.
The Swiss Platform for Sustianable Cocoa brings together actors from the cocoa and chocolate industry, the public sector, non-governmental organisations, and research institutes. The members of the Cocoa Platform actively engage to promote sustainability in the cocoa value chain.
The Platform was founded in 2016. On January 23, 2018 the association was officially launched.
The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa and the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa signed a Memorandum of Understanding on January 19, 2018. The MoU aims to a closer co-operation of both initiatives.
See more about the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa here.
Find out more about the activities of the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa in their annual report.
French Initative on Sustainable Cocoa
The French Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (FRISCO) is a public-private partnership which brings together actors in the French cocoa and chocolate sector: the State, manufacturers, traders, retailers, civil society organizations, research institutes and academic bodies. It is committed to a prosperous and sustainable cocoa production system, for the benefit of producers and the entire supply chain.
In the spirit of "shared responsibility", it aims to federate the resources of all these actors within a network oriented towards collaboration and action to achieve common ambitions and contribute to making the cocoa sector more sustainable by 2030 :
- Improve the income of cocoa farmers and their families, to enable them to earn a decent living (in the meaning of “The Living Income Community of Practice”) by 2030 at the latest, in collaboration with producing countries;
- Work with all stakeholders so that, by 2025 at the latest, the French cocoa industry and its partners stop imports from deforested areas after January, 1st, 2020, combat forest degradation and protect remaining forests and areas of high environmental value;
- Take the necessary measures to combat and ensure progress on forced labour and child labour in cocoa producing regions by 2025, while helping to promote the rights of children and their access to education, and the empowerment of women within the cocoa Industry.
Through this Initiative, FRISCO is in line with the processes already underway in other European countries, such as Beyond Chocolate (Belgium), GISCO (Germany), SWISSCO (Switzerland) and DISCO (Netherlands). Since September 2022, FRISCO is therefore part of the Memorandum of Understanding of the national platforms for sustainable cocoa in Europe.
All information on GISCO's partnerships with the national platforms for sustainable cocoa in Europe (Beyond Chocolate, DISCO, FRISCO and SWISSCO) can be found here in a compact summary in pdf format.
Click on "Learn more" to access the file.
Memorandum of Understanding
ISCO events 2023
The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) is a global organization, composed of both cocoa producing and cocoa consuming member countries. It was established in 1973 to put into effect the first International Cocoa Agreement, which had been negotiated in Geneva at a United Nations International Cocoa Conference. There have been several agreements; the Seventh International Cocoa Agreement, negotiated in 2010, is currently in force.
The International Cocoa Organization relocated its London headquarters to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in April 2017. Since Ocotober, 1 2018 Michel Arrion is the new Executive Director of ICCO.
Every two years, ICCO hosts the World Cocoa Conference. The latest edition took place in Germany in 2018.
See here for further information on ICCO.
The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa is represented in the "Consultative Board on the World Economy" of ICCO.
“Le Conseil du Café-Cacao“ (CCC) was founded in Côte d’Ivoire in 2012. The task of CCC is to maintain Côte d‘Ivoire’s position as the leading cocoa producer, to promote good governance and transparency in the cocoa sector, to improve cocoa productivity, to guarantee minimum prices for the cocoa farmers as well as to increase the processing and consumption of cocoa in the country. The CCC has developed the 2QC strategy (Quantité, Qualité & Croissance) and hosts the meetings of the Platform of Public and Private Partnership (PPPP).
The PPPP has about 75 members from the public and private sector, among them farmers and development partners.
See here for further information on CCC.
The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa and the CCC are closely linked to each other due to the project PRO-PLANTEURS. It is a joint project of GISCO, the German government and the Ivorian government, represented by CCC.
The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) was founded in 2000. It is a non-profit organisation based in Washington D.C. (USA). It is an international membership organization with more than 100 companies and organizations along the cocoa value chain. The WCF members aim at a sustainable and thriving cocoa sector. Their guiding principle is “People, profit, planet”. The project CocoaAction was initiated in 2014.
See here for further information on WCF.
The exchange between the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa and the World Cocoa Foundation takes place bilaterally on a regular basis and in the context of events. Among others, WCF representatives were guests at the GISCO Annual General Meeting 2017.