World Cocoa Day in Paris: Companies pledge to fight against deforestation and create a sustainable cocoa sector

On the sidelines of World Cocoa Day (October 1st), the Paris-based Syndicat du chocolat, who represents 81 private sector companies active in the French cocoa and chocolate market, organized an event dedicated to cocoa sustainability at the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.

On the sidelines of World Cocoa Day (October 1st), the Paris-based Syndicat du chocolat, who represents 81 private sector companies active in the French cocoa and chocolate market, organized an event dedicated to cocoa sustainability at the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, secretary at the French Foreign Ministry, and Sangafowa Coulibaly, minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Côte d’Ivoire, were present. Dedicated to a wide-range of stakeholders in the sector, the event brought together 120 people and 13 speakers to discuss this year’s theme: the fight against deforestation. The afternoon was punctuated by two round tables composed of representatives of companies (MARS, CEMOI, MONDELEZ, VALRHONA, NESTLE), certifyers (UTZ Rainforest), NGOs (TFT), distributors ( CARREFOUR), and scientists (CIRAD) who spoke to a large audience of chocolatiers, NGOs, elected officials, government representatives and ambassadors from producing countries such as Côte d’Ivoire and Brazil.

This event made it possible to highlight for French stakeholders the commitments made by the global cocoa and chocolate sector to fight against deforestation and explore solutions such as agroforestry, geomapping of plantations, strengthening of cooperatives, living income premiusm for farmers, etc. The World Cocoa Foundation’s Cocoa & Forests Initiative was praised by Patrick Poirrier, president of the Syndicat du chocolat, and detailed by Alex Assanvo, from Mars Wrigley Confectionery, who explained the importance of collaboration between all stakeholders (public-private partnerships) to obtain concrete results.

Chocolate-makers : essential players in the fight against deforestation

In his opening speech, Patrick Poirrier reiteriated that French companies want to achieve the goal of zero deforestation chocolate. At a time when members of the Syndicat are engaged internationally in the Cocoa & Forest Initiative alongside governments of producing countries and the French government is launching a national strategy to combat imported deforestation, the Syndicat is more than ever convinced that the private sector is part of the solution.

World Cocoa Day allowed the Syndicat to obtain good media coverage on these imporant issues, and created unique opportunities for institutional engagement. This annual meeting, that the Syndicat du Chocolat has been organizing for more than four years, is a key moment to develop the dialogue between all players in the value chain and to advance the commitments of the Syndicat. In 2017, the Syndicat du Chocolat published a report bringing to life the social and environmental initiatives of chocolate companies in France entitled “Companies are acting for a sustainable cocoa”. Very soon, the Syndicat du Chocolat will publish, at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, the second part of its commitments and go through the initiatives carried out locally in France to create a sustainable chocolate sector.

The European standard – CEN sustainable cocoa – should be published soon. It will highlight the commitment of the stakeholders of the sector towards 100% sustainable cocoa.