World Cocoa Day in Paris

Florence Pradier, Secrétaire générale - Syndicat du chocolat, writes about French chocolate companies fighting against deforestation and creating a sustainable cocoa sector

Author Florence Pradier

Secrétaire générale
Syndicat du chocolat

To mark the October 1 observance of World Cocoa Day, the Paris-based Syndicat du Chocolat, which 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. The event brought together 120 people, including 13 speakers, to discuss this year’s theme, The Fight Against Deforestation. The event agenda also featured two round tables composed of representatives of companies (Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Cemoi, Mondelez, Nestle and Valrhona), certifiers (UTZ Rainforest Alliance), NGOs (TFT), retailers (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.

The discussions highlighted 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 premiums 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, including through public-private partnerships, to obtain concrete results.

Chocolate Makers: Essential Players in the Fight Against Deforestation

In his opening speech, Patrick Poirrier underscored how French companies want to achieve the goal of zero deforestation chocolate. At a time when some members of the Syndicat are engaged in the Cocoa & Forest Initiative alongside producing-country governments, 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 important issues, and created unique opportunities for institutional engagement. This annual meeting, first organized by the Syndicat du Chocolat more than four years ago, is a key moment to engage dialogue between all players in the value chain and to advance the commitments of the Syndicat. In 2017, the Syndicat published a report bringing to life the social and environmental initiatives of chocolate companies in France entitled “Companies are Acting for Sustainable Cocoa”.  In conjunction with the 2018 Salon du Chocolat in Paris, the Syndicat will publish the second part of its commitments and detail the initiatives carried out locally in France to create a sustainable chocolate sector.