The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa frequently participates in leading industry fairs, such as the International Sweets & Confectionery Fair (ISM) and the international fair for food & beverages Anuga, and presents their commitment to sustainable cocoa production. In addition, together with its partners, GISCO hosts workshops and events on an international stage for producers in the cocoa producing countries as well as for representatives of member companies or the interested public.

The event calendar provides information about these dates and other events relevant to the cocoa sector.

Further information on our annual general meeting you will find here.

Documentation of the online seminar about the project PRO-PLANTEURS

The results of the first project phase and the challenges of the subsequent phase were discussed by the project manager Judith Steffens and Sonia Lehmann. Watch here to learn more about.  

GISCO invites experts and practitioners to its Annual General Meetings. They present their scientific research and report news findings and their experiences within the scope of the respective main theme. This exchange is an important part of GISCO’s work.

The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa considers itself as a platform to exchange experiences and knowledge. One aim is to join forces with different initiatives at national and international level to increase their impact. Because the goal to make the cocoa sector more sustainable can only be effectively achieved together. Joint forces of all actors of the value chain and interest groups are needed. The governments of the cocoa producing countries play a major role in doing so.

Impressions from the 4th World Cocoa Conference

Three representatives from PRO-PLANTEURS cooperatives participated in World Cocoa Conference 2018 in Berlin and talked about their expectations and impressions. Listen what Fleur, George and Charlotte want to share with us.

Learn more about the events and workshops:

ANUGA, Cologne

ANUGA 2019

On Monday, October 10, 2019, GISCO hosted an event on Anuga: Deforestation-free supply chains – How can cocoa cultivation and forest conservation be reconciled?

Our fotographical documentation can be downloaded here.

The presentations are available for download here: 

Wolf Kropp-Büttner Speech

Ursula Müller Speech

Heidi Hautala Key Note

Ethan Budiansky Key Note

Jerôme Aké Presentation

Lisa Kirfel-Rühle Speech

Please find the press release here.



ANUGA 2017

Human Rights and International Supply Chains – with the Example of Cocoa

In the age of globalisation, international supply chains have become increasingly complex. How can human rights be guaranteed throughout all processes - from raw material to the final product? What are the specific challenges in the cocoa sector?
These questions were at the centre of the event of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) on 10 October 2017. ANUGA, the world's largest fair for food and beverages, again provided the ideal platform.

Experts from food industry, grocery trade, public sector and civil society participated in the discussion about "Human Rights and International Supply Chains - with the Example of Cocoa". Taking into account the leading roles of government and private partners, they emphasised the necessity of coordinated multi-stakeholder approaches to guarantee sustainability and respect for human rights along the entire supply chain.

See here for the photo documentation (only in German).

See here for the presentation of Alana Enge, REWE Group (only in German).

See here for the presentation of Irene Maria Plank, Federal Foreign Office (only in German).

See here for the press release.

ANUGA 2015

“Sustainable Consumption – How to whet the consumers’ appetite for Sustainable Cocoa?“

The consumer confirms in numerous surveys how important sustainability aspects, environmental protection and humane working conditions are to them, especially with regards to food imported from countries of the South. But the gap between the declared consumer claim and the actual buying behaviour is big. Nonetheless, there are promising approaches to inspire consumers to consume more sustainably.

Taking the example of cocoa, the GISCO event on “Sustainable Consumption – How to whet the consumers’ appetite for Sustainable Cocoa?“ at the ANUGA in Cologne on 12 October 2015 looked closer at various sustainability and communication approaches, discussed them and showed best practices. The event drew on the results and discussion of the GISCO Annual General Meeting in 2015. It is GISCO’s aim to raise awareness of sustainable consumption among consumers. 

See here for the photo documentation.

International Sweets and Snacks Fair (ISM), Cologne

ISM 2017

“Cocoa Farming and Forest Conservation in West Africa – towards a Solution”

This topic was discussed by agronomists and environment experts at the ISM in Cologne at the invitation of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa. The core of their recommendation is to also implement the landscape approach in the cocoa sector as well as to consider the original genetic diversity of cocoa with regards to new strains.

See here for the photo documentation of the event at the ISM 2017 (only in German).

See here for a detailed report (only in German). 

Presentation by Christian Mensah: “Cocoa Farming and Forest Conservation in West Africa: Current Situation, Challenges and Need for Action”.

Presentation  by Ulrike Tröger: "Why is the Tai National Park Important for the Regional Cocoa Production in South-West Côte d’Ivoire?” (only in German).

Additionally, please find the brochure Evaluation du valeur du Parc national de Tai (FR) and the fact sheet Companies benefit from supporting Thai NP.

See here for the press release (only in German).

ISM 2016

"Female cocoa farmers – Pillars of their families and the cocoa production”

What is the role of women in cocoa production? Why is it important that women are equal partners in cocoa cultivation? How can the empowerment of women contribute to the improvement of children’s living conditions? What can governments, civil society and the industrial sector contribute to improve the situation of women?

A panel of experts discussed these questions mentioning interesting examples at the event of the German Initiative of Sustainable Cocoa at the ISM in Cologne on 31 January 2016.

See here for the photo documentation of the ISM (only in German).

Presentation by Rudolf Scheffer (OXFAM): “The position of women in the West African cocoa sector”.

Presentation by Cathy Pieters (MONDELEZ): “The Power of Many: Women’s Empowerment in CocoaAction”.

ISM 2015

The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa did not only host an event about sustainability efforts in the cocoa sector at the ISM in Cologne but was also present with an own stand. The German Minister of Food and Agriculture, Christian Schmidt, visited the stand and met the Executive Board, members and the secretariat. Both fresh cocoa pods and dried cocoa beans from Côte d’Ivoire as well as the chocolates of the GISCO members aroused the interest of the fair visitors and served as a door opener to interesting discussions.

ISM 2021

Virtual Event: Prices and Premiums

After this year’s International Sweets and Biscuits Fair (ISM) had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa shifted the originally planned event into the digital space. Thus, the virtual event of the role of prices and premiums for a living income in the cocoa sector took place on 3 February. In front of around 100 participants the invited speakers brought together different perspectives on the topic.

You can read the event's agenda here: German | English | French

A documentation of the presentations from the virtual event can be found here: German | English

The presentations of the event's speakers can be downloaded here:


For more information on Living Income we recommend:

1. The Concept - livingincome (

2. Living Income Toolkit for Companies: Guiding steps towards living income in the supply chain

3. Living Income - introduction to the concept




ISM 2020

On Sunday, 2nd February 2020, from 13:30 to 16:00 hrs, GISCO hosted an event as part of the International Sweets and Snack Fair (ISM) in Cologne on the topic "The contribution of PRO-PLANTEURS to a sustainable cocoa sector in Côte d'Ivoire".

The PRO-PLANTEURS project in Côte d'Ivoire is a cooperation between GISCO, the German Federal Government and the Ivorian Government with the aim of improving the living situation of local cocoa farmers' families. With this event, we took a joint look at the results and successes of the first project phase and derived impulses for the second phase starting in June 2020. 

See here for the press release.

Check out the programme in the following languages: English, French






ISM 2019

Joint event of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) and the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa at the January 27, 2019:

"Business as usual or real changes for the cocoa sector? - Did the World Cocoa Conference 2018 create a momentum for change?"

See here for the report of the event.
See here for the press release.
See here for the program.



ISM 2018

The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO), in cooperation with the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), hosted an expert discussion at the ISM, an international business and communication platform for suppliers and large wholesalers of the confectionery industry, in Cologne on the first trade fair day, 28 January 2018.

The topic of the event was"Certification and more: Achieving impact in the sustainable cocoa sector".

Presentation by Cathy Pieters (Mondelez).

Presentation by Karin Kreider (ISEAL Alliance).

See here for the full report of the discussion.

See here for the photo documentation.

See here for the press release.

World Cocoa Conference

WCC 2016

The World Cocoa Conference (WCC) 2016 was held from 23 to 25 Mai in Bávaro in the Dominican Republic. About 1,300 participants from 64 countries participated in the event. Under the slogan “Building bridges between producers and consumers” participants exchanged views on questions regarding future cocoa production, enhancing sustainability, market and trade. Two highlights of the conference were the launch of the Women in Cocoa and Chocolate Network (WINCC) and the Cocoa Producers’ Forum.

The international conference was an opportunity for the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa to agree with European partners on closer cooperation and, jointly with the Ivorian Delegation, to establish contacts with Dominican producers and decision-makers.

See here for a short report with pictures (only in German).

GISCO press release (only in German).


Beate Weiskopf (GISCO), Jointly towards a Sustainable Cocoa Sector

Nira Desai (WCF), Coordinating European Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives in Cocoa Sustainability

William Saab, Lucas Simmons (New Foresight), Cocoa Sustainability: a Reality Check

Antonie Fountain, Voice Network

Leif Pedersen (UNDP, GCP), Cocoa – a driver for change

WCC 2014

The second World Cocoa Conference was organized by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) under the auspices of the Dutch government. The conference adopted the Amsterdam Cocoa Declaration and thus, some key issues faced by the cocoa sector have been successfully tackled so far.

The World Cocoa Conference brought together 1,400 participants from 55 countries and from the whole cocoa sector, including farmers, traders, chocolate manufacturers and civil society groups. An exhibition featured 50 stands highlighting 35 cocoa-related organizations and companies, and a couple of interactive sessions made up a comprehensive programme.

More information on the World Cocoa Conference is available here.

Beate Weiskopf from the GISCO secretariat was present throughout the whole event.


WCC 2018

The World Cocoa Conference (WCC) 2018, which took place from 22 to 25 May in Berlin, Germany, was attended by 1,500 participants from 65 countries. Under the motto "Sustainability in the cocoa sector", the participants exchanged views on questions of strengthening sustainability as well as on market and trade issues.

The highlight of the conference was probably the Berlin Declaration. In the Berlin Declaration, the final declaration of the 4th World Cocoa Conference, the delegates formulated a clear message: there will only be a sustainable cocoa sector if cocoa farmers can live on their income in an adequate and livelihood-securing manner. This is the responsibility of all parties involved and should be tackled by them as a joint task.

The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa as a multi-stakeholder initiative used the international conference as an opportunity to agree on closer cooperation with partners and to establish contacts with producers and decision-makers.

The presentation of the exchange meeting with producing countries can be found here, the minutes see here.

A short report with photos of the WCC can be found here.

The press releases of GISCO can be found here.



International Green Week (IGW)

2020: The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) was again represented at the International Green Week in Berlin this year. In addition to the stand in the hall of the Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ), GISCO also had an stand in the hall of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).

Photo: The Federal Development Minister Dr. Gerd Müller expertly opens a cocoa fruit at the opening of the BMZ hall in the presence of the board members Wolf Kropp-Büttner (Chairman of Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao e.V.) and Christian Mieles (BVLH) and the Executive Secretary of GISCO Beate Weiskopf.

A photo documentation for further impressions of the activities of GISCO and its members at IGW 2020 can be found here (in German only).


In 2018, the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) was as a multi-stakeholder initiative one of the main themes of the special show "Cocoa Value Chain" in the hall of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Several hundred visitors, including many groups of children, used the eye-catching info column in the shape of a cocoa fruit to find out more about the work of GISCO. Most were impressed by the impressive number and diverse composition of its members or wanted to learn more about sustainability labels and general challenges in cocoa cultivation.

A photo documentation and overview of all activities of the Forum and its members at the IGW 2018 can be found here (in Germen only).


The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa participated in the International Green Week for the first time in 2016 and was present with an own stand in the hall of the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).

Fair visitors could find out more about the aims and intentions of GISCO. In addition, a one-hour student programme took place from Monday to Friday in which school classes learned more about “sustainable cocoa”. Apart from the meeting with the Federal Ministers Dr. Gerd Müller (BMZ) and Christian Schmidt (BMEL) at the GISCO stand, other highlights of this year’s International Green Week were the chocolate concert by the singer Christina Rolle as well as her walking act in the exhibition hall.

See here for the photo documentation (only in German).

Workshops and Online Seminars for Members

The importance of the CEN-ISO-standards

On 15 January 2020, GISCO organised an online seminar on the topic:

The importance of the CEN/ISO standard "Sustainable and traceable cocoa" for a sustainable cocoa sector

Speaker: Dr. Torben Erbrath, Managing Director of the Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI) and Chairman of the DIN Working Committee NA 057-03-07 AA "Sustainable cocoa and its traceability".
Moderation: Beate Weiskopf, Managing Director Forum Sustainable Cocoa

The online seminar dealt with the following questions:

  • What are the focal points of the standard compared to other sustainability standards in the cocoa sector?
  • How is the importance of the standard assessed?
  • How and when should the standard be implemented?

Background to the Standard:
For seven years, experts from cocoa exporting and importing countries deliberated on an international standard before ISO Standard 34101 "Sustainable and traceable cocoa" was adopted in May 2019. This is the first time that an ISO sustainability standard has been created for a food raw material with the participation of as many stakeholder groups as possible. The objective of the ISO standard is to enable smallholder farmers to operate their farms responsibly, to be competitive in the long term and to generate sufficient income for themselves and their families.

More information can be found on the ISO-Website and here.

Living Income in practice: Initiatives to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers

On Wednesday, 21 April 2021, GISCO hosted an online seminar on "Livelihoods in Practice: Initiatives to Increase Smallholder Incomes".

Please find the event's agenda here.



The third online seminar of the Forum Sustainable Cocoa took place on 10 June 2020. The topic discussed was:

GISCO's project PRO-PLANTEURS - results so far and challenges for the 2nd phase.

The presentation of the event can be found here , you will find a full recording of the webinar here.

Judith Steffens, project manager of the PRO-PLANTEURS project, presented the results of the first phase of the project, in particular the results of the endline study, which she illustrated with examples from project implementation. The webinar was moderated by Sonia Lehmann from the office of the Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao. In the second part of the webinar, Ms Steffens addressed the upcoming challenges for the 2nd project phase and presented the possibility for Forum members to actively participate in the design of the 2nd project phase through the Matching Fund. More information about PRO-PLANTEURS can be found here and in our factsheet.

You can find out more about ongoing activities in the project here.

Efforts and Ambitions to Eliminate Child Labor

On October 1st 2020 our virtual seminar on Efforts and Ambitions to Eliminate Child Labor in the Cocoa Supply Chain took place . A key concern of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa and its members is the abolition of the worst forms of child labor in cocoa production (see specific goal 6) and the improvement of the living conditions of cocoa farmers and their families. Within this virtual seminar for GISCO members, the speakers provided insights to new solutions to prevent child labor in the cocoa sector:

Nick Weatherill,  Executive Director at the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), presented the ICI Strategy for 2021-26 and the new Public-Private Partnership to eliminate child labor. Our second speaker, Manuel Schuh, Public Affairs Specialist at Nestlé Deutschland AG, gave insights into the implementation of the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) on the ground. Find the full agenda of the virtual seminar here.

Here you can find the presentation as well as the full recording of the virtual seminar.

Human Rights Due Diligence in Practice: Presentation of the SME Compass and CSR Risk Check

The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa will host an online seminar on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, from 10.30 am to 12.00 pm on "Human Rights Due Diligence in Practice: Presentation of the SME Compass and CSR Risk Check".

The agenda as well as further information on the event will be published here shortly.

Human rights along international supply chains

On 18 March 2020, an online seminar of GISCO took place. The topic discussed was:

Human rights due diligence along international supply chains - implementation in member companies of GISCO

You can view the documentation (in German) with the transcribed question and answer sessions here.

Speakers: Katharina Hermann, Head of NAP Helpdesk Business & Human Rights; Sabine Peters-Halfbrodt, Consultant Food Industry, NAP Helpdesk Business & Human Rights; Laura Curtze, Head of "Business and Human Rights", German Global Compact Network.

The webinar first addressed the topic of human rights due diligence and the core elements of the National Action Plan on Business & Human Rights in Germany. Subsequently, the support programme "NAP Helpdesk" and the training offers of the German Global Compact Network were presented with a special focus on support programmes specifically for SMEs.

Background on the NAP Business & Human Rights, NAP Helpdesk and German Global Compact Network:

The National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Germany is an initiative of the German Federal Government and formulates core elements of corporate due diligence. In order to support companies in the implementation of the NAP, the NAP Helpdesk was set up in the Agency for Economic & Development as an advisory service. The advice is confidential and free of charge. Further information can be found here.

The German Global Compact Network (DGCN) brings together the German signatories of the UN Global Compact: currently, these are around 460 companies - from DAX-listed corporations to SMEs and small specialists - and almost 60 organisations from civil society, academia and the public sector. In the network, they can inform themselves about all topics of corporate responsibility, exchange ideas and work together on practice-oriented solutions. More information on the DGCN and its work in the field of "human rights" can be found here




Strategy process on certification and more

The internal workshop on "Certification & More" on 14 November 2017 kicked off the strategy process initiated by GISCO:

"Certification & More - Is sustainable cocoa farming more than certification?"

In the following we provide you with the documents of the event in German:

The documentation of the workshop can be found here and you will find the the photo documentation here.

The introduction by the Chairman of the Board Wolf Kropp-Büttner can be found hier.

The introduction by Evelyn Bahn (INKOTA) can be found hier.

The presentation by Dr Bettina von Reden (Fairtrade Germany): "Fairtrade Certification Cocoa: Opportunities and Challenges" can be found hier.

The presentation by Stephanie Gerteiser (UTZ): "Certification in West Africa - Opportunities and Challenges" can be found hier.

The presentation of Dr. Torben Erbrath (Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry): "CEN/ISO Standard: Sustainable and Traceable Cocoa" can be found hier.

Events of the European platforms

Joint Event of the European platforms for sustainable cocoa on Human Rights

In a first joint event on 9 November 2020, around 130 members of the three European platforms for sustainable cocoa (Beyond Chocolate, Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao e.V. and SWISSCO) discussed the responsibility of the various actors for respecting human rights along the cocoa supply chain.

After a welcome address by the EU Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, and a presentation of the Swiss "Responsible Business Initiative", Sarah Bollermann from the Aldi South Group gave the participants an exciting insight into the retailer's human rights due diligence concept.

In the panel discussion that followed, representatives of the various stakeholder groups along the cocoa supply chain - from COCOBOD from Ghana and ISEAL to Barry Callebaut, Nestlé and Colruyt, a Belgian retailer - discussed ways of cooperating to jointly ensure the implementation of human rights due diligence.

The working groups then took a closer look at the responsibilities of the individual actors, identified tools for effective cooperation and discussed the role of multi-actor platforms. It became clear that the "pre-competitive" space created by multi-actor platforms, in which not only best practices but also challenges are (or should be) shared, is particularly valued by the members of the platforms and should be further strengthened across platforms. Along with this, one recommendation ran through all working groups: Transparency along the supply chain must be improved in order to develop information-based measures to ensure human rights compliance along the cocoa supply chain.


A documentation of the event can be found here.

Launch of first joint Monitoring Round

On Wednesday, 28 April 2021, from 1pm to 4.45pm, the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) together with the Belgian initiative for sustainable cocoa, Beyond Chocolate, will host a virtual launch event for the first joint monitoring round for the reporting year 2020.

In addition to a description of the development process of the joint monitoring tool and an explanation of how to register for it, there will be plenty of room for questions.

You can view the agenda of the event here.

You can find more information about the joint monitoring tool of the national cocoa initiatives in Europe in our information brochure.

For more information, please contact