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 off an influential multi-stakeholder collaboration.
Currently, over 50 companies and organizations have joined the Beyond Chocolate partnership, covering about 90% of the Belgian chocolate sector. All companies and organizations that are part of Beyond Chocolate have committed to reaching the partnership’s end goals of zero deforestation and a living income for cocoa producers.
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.
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.
Where we stand today
Beyond Chocolate partners reported on their progress for a first time in 2020. The aggregated data of partners was published in the Beyond Chocolate 2019 Annual Report. Data showed that the partnership is currently halfway to its 2025 goal, with 50% of the cocoa used for couverture chocolate production in Belgium sourced in compliance with at least one certification standard or corporate sustainability program. While a lot of work remains to be done, these results already indicate that Beyond Chocolate signatories are making significant efforts.
Find the Annual Report Here
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