Last Updated on January 1, 2021 by Nick Baskett
Filippo Veglio was elected as the new President of the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa.
The Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa is an association built to foster partnerships by bringing together stakeholders of the entire Swiss cocoa sector.
At the associations second ‘General Assembly’ (which was held virtually this year because of COVID restrictions). Members are happy with the progress so far with its goal of having sustainable cocoa to make up 80% of total imports into Switzerland by 2025, thanks to the commitment of its members. This year’s ‘General Assembly’ focused on the urgency of a living income for cocoa farmers.
Founding President Ernst A. Brugger has stepped down following the Cocoa Platform’s successful initial two-year phase.
Filippo Veglio has many years of experience, particularly in his current role as Managing Director of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Veglio has gained valuable experience in multi-stakeholder processes, which he will now bring into managing and further developing the Platform.
He believes in strengthening their efforts in order to achieve the Cocoa Platform’s long-term goal that is ensuring that all cocoa imported into Switzerland is sourced from sustainable production.
He wants to continue to concentrate on the four most urgent challenges: Working to achieve a living income for cocoa farmers and their families, avoidance of the worst forms of child labour, the preservation of existing forests and protected areas, and transparency and traceability in the value chain.
Veglio and the members of the Board expressed their thanks to Brugger for his outstanding work in establishing the Platform and the results he achieved.
To strengthen European collaboration, the Cocoa Platform signed a memorandum of understanding in June 2020 with two partner initiatives in Germany and Belgium. Veglio said:
We will try to expand these activities over the next few years and work with our European partners to increase our leverage in the global value chain
The three countries in the European partnership account for about 19% of cocoa imports worldwide.
The second General Assembly of the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa devoted the thematic section of its discussions to the issue of a living income for cocoa farmers as it poses a major concern.
Cocoa accounts for the livelihood of more than 40 million farmers worldwide. More than 80% of them are small farmers, who for the most part still live below the poverty line, especially in West Africa (Ghana and the Ivory Coast), the source of roughly two-thirds of global cocoa production. Despite considerable efforts, the living conditions of cocoa farmers and their families remain difficult.
It is also estimated that 2.1 million children worldwide still work on cocoa plantations. The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the problem further.
In the second part of the General Assembly, two introductory presentations on the holistic concept of a living income were followed by a discussion on the experiences gained to date from the Platform’s innovative projects. In a dialogue with project leaders and experts, Cocoa Platform members exchanged ideas on concrete solution approaches for raising farmers’ incomes.
The discussion was further enriched by a presentation of the preliminary results of the Platform’s projects co-financed by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
These projects implement innovative approaches to promote cross-sector partnerships in source countries which, if successful, can also be scaled up.
We’re convinced that these kinds of public-private partnerships are exactly the right tool for responding to the various challenges in the cocoa sector – Monica Rubiolo, Head of Trade and Promotion, Economic Cooperation and Development Division at SECO
The Cocoa Platform has so far implemented fourteen innovative projects reaching nearly 100,000 cocoa farmers.