Ivorian cooperatives call for long-term solutions to cocoa supply chain issues

The FTAO met with a delegation of cocoa producer cooperatives from the Ivorian Fair Trade Network (RICE), visiting Brussels for the Salon du Chocolat, on the 17 February 2020. This was a great opportunity for FTAO, and the other CSOs in attendance, to hear about how the policy issues that we engage with relate to the reality on the ground in producer countries.

The cooperative representatives expressed their support for a more sustainable cocoa sector and welcomed the interest that the EU has shown in making environmentally and socially sustainable cocoa supply chains a reality.

There was also much discussion of two particularly pressing environmental and social concerns in cocoa supply chains- child labour and deforestation.

On child labour, the cooperatives highlighted the difference between child work as a “socialising work” and child labour, which is detrimental to children. They described the efforts they make to prevent, monitor and remediate child labour issues. However, they emphasised that eliminating child labour is a long-term process, not something that can happen instantaneously.

Similarly, they cautioned against over-hasty deforestation regulation without safeguards and the need to provide alternatives for producers working in protected areas.

The cooperatives also discussed price and purchasing practices, and the knock-on effects that these could have for sustainability. They underlined the need for direct contact between producers and chocolate companies, living incomes for farmers, and more long-term purchase commitments.

For further information on the work that the FTAO is doing around fair and sustainable cocoa supply chains contact Fabienne Yver, Project Coordinator at the FTAO at: yver@fairtrade-advocacy.org