New study on cocoa traceability makes recommendation towards more transparency in the cocoa sector

GISCO and IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, have jointly commissioned a study on cocoa traceability to provide more clarity on the state of traceability systems in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon.

The study is supported by the Partnerships for Forests (P4F) Programme in the context of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative and provides an overview of challenges, as well as recommendations for a more transparent and traceable cocoa supply chain.

Enhancing the sustainability of cocoa farming and of the whole cocoa sector, is not possible without adequate forms of cocoa traceability. Knowing where cocoa is being farmed is indeed an important first step and a pre-requisite to designing appropriate programs that improve the sustainability of cocoa farming. The good news is that in recent years, an increasing number of value chain actors have been designing and implementing their own traceability systems.

The study focuses on traceability systems in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon, countries that together represent about 70% of global cocoa production. The results of the study were summarised in a Technical Brief on Cocoa Traceability.

This Technical Brief was developed by, based on desk research and interviews with government representatives from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon, cocoa and chocolate companies, standard setting organizations and technical service providers. Furthermore, a series of case studies will also be published the following weeks, exploring in more detail how companies and standard setting organizations are implementing traceability in their operations.

The Brief promotes harmonisation and sharing of cocoa traceability and sustainability data between value chain actors, including between governments and companies. Furthermore, it is emphasized that farmers and their organizations should benefit from the system and be incentivized to provide accurate data.

These recommendations will be used as a basis for further discussion between members of the national platforms for sustainable cocoa in Europe, as part of their joint Working Group on Cocoa Traceability. The Working Group brings together key stakeholders from the private sector, NGOs, research institutions and governments, and aims to progress the thinking and practices towards enhancing the sustainability of the cocoa sector.

You can download the technical brief here.