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.

Learn more about the events and workshops:

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).

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 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.

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.

Workshops and Online Seminars for Members


Am 10. Juni 2020 fand das dritte Online-Seminar des Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao statt: 

Das Forumsprojekt PRO-PLANTEURS - bisherige Ergebnisse und Herausforderungen für die 2. Phase

Sie können die Präsentation einsehen ebenso wie eine vollständige Aufzeichnung des Webinars.

Judith Steffens, Projektleiterin des Projekts PRO-PLANTEURS, stellte die Ergebnisse der ersten Projektphase vor, insbesondere die Ergebnisse der Endline-Studie, die sie mit Beispielen aus der Projektumsetzung verdeutlichte. Moderiert wurde das Webinar von Sonia Lehmann von der Geschäftsstelle des Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao. Im zweiten Teil des Webinars ging Frau Steffens auf die anstehenden Herausforderungen für die 2. Projektphase ein und stellte die Möglichkeit für Mitglieder des Forums vor, sich über den Matching Fund aktiv an der Gestaltung der 2. Projektphase zu beteiligen. Mehr Informationen über PRO-PLANTEURS finden Sie hier und in unserem Factsheet.

Mehr über laufende Aktivitäten im Projekt erfahren Sie hier.

Efforts and Ambitions to Eliminate Child Labor

We are pleased to invite you to our virtual seminar on child labor in the cocoa sector on October 1st 2020. 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 will provide insights to new solutions to prevent child labor in the cocoa sector:

Nick Weatherill,  Executive Director at the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), will present 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, will give insights into the implementation of the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) on the ground. During the virtual seminar, there will be sufficient space for Questions and Discussion with the participants. Find the full agenda of the virtual seminar here.

Menschenrechte entlang internationaler Lieferketten


Am 18. März 2020 fand das zweite Online-Seminar des Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao statt:  Menschenrechtliche Sorgfalt entlang internationaler Lieferketten - Umsetzung in Mitgliedsunternehmen des Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao

Sie können hier die Dokumentation mit den verschrifteten Frage-Antwort-Sessions einsehen.

Referentinnen: Katharina Hermann, Leiterin des NAP Helpdesk Wirtschaft & Menschenrechte; Sabine Peters-Halfbrodt, Beraterin Ernährungsindustrie, NAP Helpdesk Wirtschaft & Menschenrechte; Laura Curtze, Leiterin "Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte", Deutsches Global Compact Netzwerk

Das Webinar ging zunächst auf die Thematik der menschenrechtlichen Sorgfalt und die Kernelemente des Nationalen Aktionsplans Wirtschaft & Menschenrechte in Deutschland ein. Im Anschluss wurden das Unterstützungsprogramm "NAP Helpdesk" und die Trainingsangebote des Deutschen Global Compact Netzwerks mit besonderem Fokus auf Unterstützungsprogramme speziell für KMU vorgestellt.

Zum Hintergrund des NAP Wirtschaft & Menschenrechte, NAP Helpdesk und Deutschen Global Compact Netzwerk:

Der Nationale Aktionsplan Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte (NAP) zur Umsetzung der UN Leitprinzipien Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte in Deutschland ist eine Initiative der deutschen Bundesregierung und formuliert Kernelemente der unternehmerischen Sorgfalt. Um Unternehmen bei der Umsetzung des NAP zu unterstützen, wurde der NAP Helpdesk in der Agentur für Wirtschaft & Entwicklung als Beratungsangebot eingerichtet. Die Beratung ist vertraulich und kostenfrei. Weitere Informationen finden Sie hier.

Im Deutschen Global Compact Netzwerk (DGCN) versammeln sich die deutschen Unterzeichner des UN Global Compact: Derzeit sind dies rund 460 Unternehmen – von DAX-Konzernen über Mittelständler bis hin zu kleinen Spezialisten – und knapp 60 Organisationen aus Zivilgesellschaft, Wissenschaft und dem öffentlichen Sektor. Im Netzwerk können sie sich über alle Themen der unternehmerischen Verantwortung informieren, Ideen austauschen und gemeinsam an praxisorientierten Lösungen arbeiten. Mehr Informationen zum DGCN und dessen Arbeit im Bereich „Menschenrechte“ finden Sie hier

Strategieprozess "Zertifizierung & Mehr"

Interner Workshop

Ein interner Workshop am 14. November 2017 bildete den Auftakt für den vom Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao eingeleiteten Strategieprozess: "Zertifizierung & Mehr - Ist nachhaltiger Kakaoanbau mehr als Zertifizierung?"

Das Protokoll des Workshops finden Sie hier.

Die Fotodokumentation des Workshops finden Sie hier.

Die Einführung durch den Vorstandsvorsitzenden Wolf Kropp-Büttner finden Sie hier.

Die Einführung von Evelyn Bahn (INKOTA) finden Sie hier.

Die Präsentation von Dr. Bettina von Reden (Fairtrade Deutschland): "Fairtrade-Zertifizierung Kakao: Chancen und Herausforderungen" finden Sie hier.

Die Präsentation von Stephanie Gerteiser (UTZ): "Zertifizierung in Westafrika - Chancen und Herausforderungen" finden Sie hier.

Die Präsentation von Dr. Torben Erbrath (Bundesverband der Deutschen Süßwarenindustrie): "CEN-/ISO-Norm: Nachhaltiger und rückverfolgbarer Kakao" finden Sie hier.

Die Bedeutung des CEN-ISO-Standards

15. Januar 2020: Die Bedeutung des CEN/ISO-Standards „Nachhaltiger und rückverfolgbarer Kakao“ für einen nachhaltigen Kakaosektor

Referent: Dr. Torben Erbrath, Geschäftsführer Bundesverband der Deutschen Süßwarenindustrie (BDSI) und Obmann des DIN Arbeitsausschusses NA 057-03-07 AA "Nachhaltiger Kakao und dessen Rückverfolgbarkeit"
Moderation: Beate Weiskopf, Geschäftsführerin Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao

Das Online-Seminar behandelte folgende Fragestellungen:

  • Was sind Schwerpunkte des Standards im Vergleich zu anderen Nachhaltigkeitsstandards im Kakaosektor?
  • Wie wird die Bedeutung des Standards eingeschätzt?
  • Wie und ab wann soll der Standard umgesetzt werden?

Mitgliedern steht eine Zusammenfassung des Vortrags und der Fragen und Antworten zur Verfügung.

Zum Hintergrund des Standards:
Sieben Jahre lang haben Experten aus Kakao exportierenden und importierenden Ländern über einen internationalen Standard beraten, bevor im Mai 2019 die ISO-Norm 34101 „Nachhaltiger und rückverfolgbarer Kakao“ verabschiedet wurde. Erstmalig wurde mit dieser Norm für einen Lebensmittelrohstoff ein ISO-Nachhaltigkeitsstandard unter Beteiligung möglichst vieler Akteursgruppen geschaffen. Die Zielsetzung der ISO-Norm ist es, dass Kleinbäuerinnen und -bauern verantwortlich ihre Farmen betreiben können, sie langfristig wettbewerbsfähig sind und genügend Einkommen für sich und ihre Familien erzielen.

Mehr Infos finden Sie auf der ISO-Website und hier.

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.

Talking to GISCO members at WCC 2018

At the 4th World Cocoa Conference in Berlin we asked GISCO members about their expectations regarding the results of the conference.