cocoa initiatives


Côte d’Ivoire appoints former Director Corporate Affairs for Mars Wrigley, Alex Arnaud Assanvo to lead key sustainability scheme as Executive Secretary of the Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire Cocoa Initiative.

Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the biggest cocoa producers in the world account for over 60% of global output together.

The announcement came after it emerged the two West African countries struggled to enforce Living Income Differential (LID) initiative which was introduced from October 2020, from which farmers benefit from a premium of $400 per tonne of cocoa. However, cocoa traders, processors, and chocolate makers have been avoiding the premium by using middlemen who pay less than the government’s price. Weakened demand has led to cocoa beans piling up in warehouses.

Assanvo will be based at the Initiative’s headquarters in Accra, Ghana, which has been established to help deliver the newly established Living Income Differential programme (LID).

Assanvo, born in Cote d’Ivoire is coming to his post at a crucial time, with his home nation reportedly facing considerable challenges, as it battles to contain a surge in the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite such challenges, he is keenly awaiting the task ahead, having gained a considerable level of experience in the sector, which includes recently being named as a committee chairman on sustainability at CAOBISCO, the European chocolate trade association.

Assanvo joined Mars in 2013, as Global Programs lead, where he developed advocacy and engagement strategies to support Mars Sustainability objectives, including through leadership of the company relationships with key global NGOs such as Oxfam and Greenpeace, and through support of Mars’ engagement in forums such as the United Nations.

He later served as a Director of International Government Relations. In this role, Assanvo helped design a framework for the development of strategies to guide Mars’ engagement with international organizations, such as the WHO, IFAD, and World Bank and others.

Earlier in his career, Assanvo worked at Mondelez International, Fairtrade Labelling Organization and the German Organization for Technical Cooperation (GIZ).

Speaking on his departure, Mars commented:

It is an honour for Alex to be called upon by his country to serve as the Executive Secretary of the Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire Cocoa Initiative, and a testament to the expertise he has gained from a successful international career.

Of course, we are sad to see him leave Mars but recognise that in his new role he will be able to have even more influence to help create our shared ambition of a modern, inclusive and sustainable supply chain for cocoa. We wish him every success.

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