Beyond Chocolate is the Partnership for a sustainable Belgian chocolate industry. Partners in the initiative are working to end deforestation, stimulate education for future generations and provide a living income for cocoa growers.

Background

Making Belgian chocolate even better and more sustainable. This was the joint ambition of the Belgian chocolate and retail sector, civil society, social impact investors, trade unions and universities. On December 5, 2018, under the impetus of then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo, this diverse group of actors officially signed the Beyond Chocolate partnership, thus kicking an influential multi-stakeholder collaboration.

Belgium is know worldwide for its chocolate. Not only is the Belgian chocolate industry incredibly popular, it is also of great economic importance. Comprising over 250 companies and employing over 8000 people, the sector has a turnover of almost 5 billion euros, accounting for 9,4% of the Belgian food and beverage industry (FOD Economie, 2018).

 

Moreover, between 140,769 and 190,874 cocoa farming families depend on the Belgian cocoa sector for their livelihoods. The main countries for sourcing cocoa beans for Belgian chocolate are Côte d’Ivoire (53%), Ghana (15%), Nigeria (9%) and Cameroon (5%).

For now, despite the action of national and international organisations, NGOs, trade unions, research institutions, governments and companies in cocoa growing regions, major challenges remain to be addressed to improve the sustainability of the Belgian chocolate sector. While cocoa farming could have a positive impact on cocoa farmers, their communities, and the economy of producing countries, this potential is not fully realized. The average cocoa farmer is far from earning a living income. The fact that many families in cocoa producing countries live below the poverty line often results in child labour and unjust working conditions. Moreover, poverty pushes farmers to converting new land, often in protected areas, leading to a dramatic reduction of forest cover in West and Central Africa.

 

Commitments

How we reach these commitments

The Beyond Chocolate partnership empowers all stakeholders to have a positive impact on the sustainability level of the cocoa supply chain within their sphere of influence.

The cocoa-processing industry, chocolatiers and companies that are active in the Belgian chocolate sector will substantially intensify their investments into the sustainable development of the cocoa sector in the coming years, retailers take a closer look at their house brands, civil society organizations are encouraged to share learnings and appeal to their networks, universities do research into good practices and make that information publicly available, standard setting organizations keep their standards up to date and follow-up on activities on-field,…

By increasing investments, adopting sustainable business models, testing sustainability approaches and sharing learnings and know-how, Beyond Chocolate will lead to lasting improvements in the living standards and incomes of smallholder cocoa farmers, as well as counter environmental degradation.

Signatories

Beyond Chocolate has over 50 partners, covering about 90% of the Belgian chocolate sector. Every company/organization active in the Belgian sector and willing to commit to the Beyond Chocolate end goals is welcome to join the partnership. No membership fee is required.

On top of the 4 main Beyond Chocolate goals, partners can also take up an extra individual commitment. An overview of these commitments can be found in the Beyond Chocolate Program Document. 

 

Chocolate industry Choprabisco
Puratos (Belcolade)
Barry Callebaut
ECOM
Olam International
Cargill
Belvas
Kim’s Chocolate
Galler
Baronie
Libeert
Chocolaterie Guylian
Chocolaterie van Hoorebeke
Neuhaus
ECOM
SIAT Group
Retail Colruyt Group
Delhaize
Lidl
Aldi Belgium
Carrefour
Public Sector Belgian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation
Enabel
Bio Invest
NGO WWF
Trias
Rikolto
Oxfam Wereldwinkels
Bos+
Samilia Foundation
Universities/knowledge centra VLIR-UOS
ARES
Universiteit Gent
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Universiteit Antwerpen
KU Leuven
Universiteit Hasselt
Labels and member organizations labels Fairtrade
Rainforest Alliance
ISEAL
Bioforum Vlaanderen
Trade Unions ACV/CSC
ACLVB/CGSLB
ABVV/FGTB Horval
Social Impact Investors Kampani
Incofin
Alterfin
Oikocredit
Lita.co
LadyAgri
Other Port of Antwerp
The Shift

 

An Initiative of

The Beyond Chocolate Program is funded by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative was appointed by the Belgian Ministry for Development Cooperation to coordinate investments, independently monitor progress, measure traceable impacts and communicate transparently on the partners’ mobilization and results.

Download the Beyond Chocolate Program Document here

Publications

Title Type Year
Download the Beyond Chocolate Program Document here Brochure 2020
MoU European platforms for sustainable cocoa Commitment 2020
Brochure Call for Proposals_NL Brochure 2020
Brochure Call for Proposals_FR Brochure 2020
Brochure Call for Proposals Beyond Chocolate_ENG Brochure 2020
  • Charles Snoeck

    Senior Program Manager

  • Marloes humbeeck

    Program Officer

Signatories of the partnership