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Annual partnership meeting

Accelerating sustainability across the sector requires all stakeholders to play their role – and understand one another’s needs. The influences shaping social, economic and environmental sustainability for cocoa go well beyond the sector itself. Strong collaboration requires open minds, innovative thinking and trust in common goals.

To continue strengthening these foundations, the World Cocoa Foundation is convening the cocoa and chocolate sector for our annual Partnership Meeting. This annual event unites cocoa farmers and experts from companies, governments, academia, civil society and media in a single forum of discussion, collaboration and shared progress on sustainability in a dialogue designed to help us align for global action.

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Collaborating with governments

In the ever-changing cocoa industry, the policies of cocoa-producing countries directly impact the operations of our members. Collaborating closely with governments, especially cocoa-producing governments like Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, Colombia, Cameroon, Brazil and Nigeria, is crucial. We work together to address sustainability, trade, and environmental challenges. Aligning on medium and long-term strategies through our Aligned Country Strategies (ACS) initiative, ensures effective partnerships, crisis prevention and proactive crisis management. This approach aims to create a cocoa sector that thrives economically, promotes social well-being, and preserves the environment for a better future for all stakeholders.

WCF works with consuming country governments such as the US, the UK as well as with the European Union to ensure consistency in policy-making concerning policies promoting ethical sourcing, traceability and sustainability. The European Union Regulation on Deforestation-Free Products (EUDR) entering into force in January 2025 is a concrete example of this work. WCF supports setting a universal legal standard to prevent further deforestation linked to cocoa farming and supports its members in complying with this new regulation.

ARS1000: A standard for
sustainable cocoa farming

Over the past two decades, numerous private and voluntary standards have emerged to enhance the agricultural sector's ability to meet sustainability requirements. These standards have become vital for market access, particularly in countries that consume raw materials like cocoa. The ARS1000 standard for sustainable cocoa, published by ARSO, addresses the challenge of formalising and standardising cocoa farming, crucial for competitiveness in demanding export markets.

We believe the adoption of ARS1000 is an opportunity to enhance cocoa industry sustainability by strengthening farmers' capabilities. Therefore, in Côte d'Ivoire, WCF actively participated in developing the standard and through its members’ plans to engage in its pilot implementation, capitalising on lessons learned for the extension phase across all cocoa-producing areas. WCF not only supports the development of the ARS1000 standard but is fully committed to its implementation.

Compliance with the EU deforestation regulation

Collaborative efforts, particularly with the European Cocoa Association, aim to ensure the implementation of mechanisms that enable members to comply with short-term regulations while concurrently supporting the development of effective national traceability systems for long-term use. Sharing valuable insights on approaches to the implementation of the EUDR and interactions with the EU and producing governments with sister organisations is a key aspect of this collaboration.

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Cross-commodity collaboration

Given that sustainability issues are systemic and not unique to cocoa, it is both a need and an opportunity to work together with other leading commodity trade organisations and roundtables for coffee, palm, timber, beef, natural rubber, soy, dairy and sugar. WCF seeks to discuss common sustainability challenges such as EUDR, farmer income, traceability, deforestation, carbon and more. Recognising the similarities between the challenges faced by these organisations for example due to the same regulations, WCF strives to collectively navigate and address these challenges for the greater sustainability of the commodities sector.

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