GISCO members agree to establish individual Living Income Commitments and align common goals for greater sustainability in the cocoa sector

The members of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa spoke out in favor of more commitment and transparency in the cocoa sector at their extraordinary membership meeting on June 23, 2023. By deciding to publish individual Roadmaps on Living Income from the end of 2024 and to adapt their common goals, the members of the Forum clearly show how they intend to advance sustainability in the cocoa sector in the coming years. At the same time, all GISCO members are committed to working together to develop strategies to achieve a Living Income.

By creating individual Living Income Roadmaps, the members of GISCO commit to publicly demonstrate and track their contribution to achieving a living income for cocoa farming households in their supply chains. The roadmaps contain commitments, for example, to increase the incomes of a certain number of households, to pay a certain producer price and higher premiums, or to implement specific programs to achieve higher incomes. The Federal Cartel Office currently sees no need for further investigation into the publication of the roadmaps on living incomes. The planned publication practice of the individual voluntary commitments is not intended to allow any conclusions to be drawn about the actual producer prices paid. Feedback from the German Federal Cartel Office confirms that there are currently no indications of a restrictive effect on competition.  


The members of GISCO decided to adjust the following common goals 1, 6, 8 and 11 

The members of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) commit to support the work of the initiative at all levels. They 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 the 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. 

  1. abolishing prohibited child labour[2], forced labour, slavery and human trafficking in cocoa production. 

  1. ensuring that corporate members[3] of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa implement human rights[4] and environmental[5] due diligence in their cocoa supply chains by the end of 2025. 

  1. 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[7]  or comes from sustainability programmes that are independently verified. 


Election of the Members of the Board 

The representatives from civil society, industry, trade and the federal government elected a new board. The board is formed by Sebastian Lesch (Federal Ministry for Development and Economic Cooperation), Dr. Ar-tur Ickstadt (Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture), Dr. Torben Erbrath (Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry), Christian Mieles (Federal Association of the German Food Trade), Florian Schütze (Schwarz Group) and Evelyn Bahn (INKOTA-Netzwerk e. V.). The function of the treasurer takes over Dr. Torben Erbrath.  

The adapted goals of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa can be found here

More information on the antitrust review of the individual roadmaps can be found here.  



[1] including for export

[2] 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.

[3] Members who trade or process > 100 t of cocoa per year.

[4] Human rights due diligence in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

[5] Environmental due diligence in accordance with the OECD/FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural

[6] Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Utz Certified, Bio, e.g. Naturland Fair 

[7] 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. Supply Chains.