Looking back on the journey and to the road ahead
This report sheds light on the achievements and challenges in the implementation of the European Union Sustainable Cocoa Initiative, which aims to deliver on European Green Deal priorities including deforestation-free trade and ending child labour.
Focussing on Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, and Ghana, the report finds that the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative has been a useful addition to the cocoa sector: it has enabled dialogue between producer country governments and the EU in a way that has never happened before.
It has also helped push forward important priorities like national traceability systems, and helped prepare for the application of the EU Regulation on deforestation-free products (EUDR).
But challenges remain.
Concerns persist regarding the robustness, accuracy, and transparency of national traceability systems, which are crucial for gaining trust that companies will use the systems. There are also still deficiencies in deforestation and child labour monitoring systems and a lack of clarity regarding which national laws must be complied with in the cocoa sector.
The report concludes with recommendations for producer countries, companies and the European Commission, including encouraging producer countries and the European Commission to hold four types of dialogues: smaller multi-stakeholder technical working groups led by producer country governments, a regular structured political dialogue between the European Commission and producer countries, a regular permanent multi-stakeholder dialogue forum at producer country-level, and occasionally the larger public-facing format seen in the original (2021-2022) round of Cocoa Talks.