Last Updated on January 1, 2021 by Nick Baskett
The World Cocoa Foundation 2020 Partnership Meeting was originally scheduled on November 18-19 in Bogotá, Columbia, but due to the global Covid pandemic, it is hosted as a virtual 2-day event.
President of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), Richard Scobey kicked off online with the keynote opening on day 1. The theme this year was ‘Scaling Impact in Disruptive Times.’
One of the benefits of moving to a virtual event is that we are able to reach a broader audience from around the world. More than 400 participants have signed up, from 32 countries on six continents. I am particularly pleased that we have 40 member companies of WCF with us, as our diverse membership is our greatest asset.
The WCF put out a report that highlighted 5 Key Developments. In Summary:
Below we have copied the WCF’s 5 key developments from their report which can be found here:
GLOBAL PANDEMIC HAS SIGNIFICANTLY DISRUPTED THE COCOA SUPPLY CHAIN
Cocoa grindings declined by about 15% in the second and third quarters of 2020, compared to the previous year. This decline in demand has sent cocoa prices sharply lower, and contributed to a decline in global cocoa purchases.
WCF companies came together in April and May and made a donation of $835,000 to help farmers in West Africa, Asia, and Latin America fight COVID-19, on top of numerous individual company contributions that have totalled hundreds of millions of dollars to protect the lives and livelihoods of the millions of cocoa farmers around the world who are facing significant health and economic risks as a result of the COVID crisis.
GROWING GLOBAL FOCUS & COMMITMENT TO ACHIEVING A LIVING INCOME
The industry has continued to work closely with origin governments, farmers, and other partners to make cocoa farming sustainable and profitable, with transformation of farms into modern businesses that enable farmers to earn sufficient income to achieve a decent standard of living.
WCF supports the new Living Income Differential policy that Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana introduced in July 2019 as part of a strategy to raise farmer income. Their company members have independently and voluntarily incorporated the LID into their individual procurement plans for the 2020-21 crop season.
The Conseil du Café Cacao and Ghana Cocoa Board have recently flagged some concerns about the decline in cocoa purchases and the implementation of the LID during the past months of the COVID pandemic.
Through these difficult times, is critical that industry and the governments engage in a meaningful dialogue about how to protect farmer income at a time of reduced global demand, continued market uncertainty, and a 2019/20 market surplus according to the latest ICCO forecast.
It’s important to talk through within the confines of anti-trust law how to manage risk and volatility in this difficult market, and how to most effectively and efficiently maximize the long-term income of farmers.
Whilst focussing on increasing farmer income, they must also ensure that the cocoa is grown responsibly.
WCF believes in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the sector without farmers receiving fair remuneration for their crop. Likewise, a long-term increase in farmer remuneration must come from responsible cocoa production, with due attention to child labor, deforestation, and stable long-term supply-side management.
Company sustainability programs are playing a critical role to boost farmer income, ensure a responsible supply chain, and accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. These programs directly helps almost 700,000 farmers and their families, about 45% of all cocoa growers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.
ENCOURAGING RESULTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE & DEFORESTATION
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity issued a major report in September which indicated that from 2018 to 2019, the rate of forest loss was halved in both Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. It specifically called out the industry’s work:
“Several policies and actions have contributed to this success including the Cocoa and Forest Initiative. The initiative is a partnership between the two countries and the World Cocoa Foundation, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, the International Sustainability Unit of the Office of the Prince of Wales, and private cocoa companies, to create an enabling environment for the cocoa sector to contribute positively to the preservation of forests and the economy of the two countries.”
TACKLING CHILD LABOUR IN COTE D’IVOIRE & GHANA
The recent report by NORC showed that there are still too many cases of child labour today.
The report indicates that earlier targets to reduce child labour were set without fully understanding the complexity and scale of a challenge associated with poverty in rural Africa. It nevertheless shows that government and company programs to reduce child labour are making a difference. The report emphasises that the more than 60% increase in total cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana over the past 10 years did not bring a similar surge in child labor.
Analyses by NORC and the International Cocoa Initiative have shown that hazardous child labour has been reduced by one-third in communities where company programmes are operating and by one-half among those child labourers identified by company due diligence measures.
Now knowing more about what works, they can scale up these efforts for impact.
FOCUS ON COCOA SUSTAINABILITY IN THE LEGISLATURES OF COCOA-CONSUMING COUNTRIES
Increased attention to regulatory options to ensure corporate due diligence and responsible supply chains.
Industry has welcomed these regulatory developments. They believe that effective protection of human rights and environmental standards in the supply chain requires three complementary actions:
- Government regulation to set clear standards for environmental and social due diligence
- Strong public and private partnerships to catalyze joint action of companies and government
- Increased aid and trade flows to finance key interventions in producer countries at national scale.
Following Richard Scobeys opening, the 2-day Partnership Meeting event continues to discuss the above topics, with guest key speakers.