We only really started working on cocoa at the beginning of the year, and we've positioned ourselves as a key actor in the debate: we’ve already been invited to speak at events by the European Parliament, the German and French governments, the chocolate industry, and NGO coalitions in Brussels and the UK.
We’re working in close collaboration with other NGOs and allies who have contacts in different constituencies to us. We joined the VOICE Network, which is the association of European organisations working on cocoa.
One positive thing to emerge from that collaboration is that the final declaration of the World Cocoa Conference (the leading event for the global cocoa sector) referred to the failure of voluntary approaches and stated that governments should consider regulatory measures. This was a big step forward, which we were able to use throughout the year to raise policy-makers’ awareness that the cocoa sector wants regulation.
In July we facilitated the attendance of our Ghanaian partner to join a panel in a hearing in the European Parliament on tackling deforestation and human rights abuses in cocoa supply chains, which got great media coverage including in Reuters and the New York Times.
The was an incredible consensus at that hearing, thanks to a groundwork by us and our allies before the event. You had all the MEPs asking, ‘Why aren't we regulating the sector?’ and Mondelez, which is the world's second biggest chocolate company, made a clear call for an EU Diligence approach.