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.

Partners

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.

Challenges

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

Beyond Chocolate partners jointly undertake to make sure that:

  • Certification Standards and Schemes

    By 2025 at the latest, all the chocolate produced and/or sold in Belgium shall comply with a relevant certification standards and/or shall be manufactured from cocoa-based products covered by a corporate sustainability scheme.

  • Living Income

    By 2030 at the latest, cocoa growers will earn at least a living income.

  • Ending Deforestation

    By 2025 at the latest, Beyond Chocolate partners shall comply with applicable agreements between governments and companies in the regions included in the Cocoa & Forests Initiative. By 2030 at the latest deforestation due to cocoa growing for the Belgian chocolate sector has ended.

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.

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

Relevant SDG's

  • SDG 1: No Poverty
  • SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth
  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption & Production
  • SDG 15: Life on Land
  • SDG 19: Partnerships

Publications

Title Type Year
Beyond Chocolate Reporting Guidance Document Toolkit and guide 2021
Technical Brief on Cocoa Traceability Case Study 2021
Memorandum of Understanding EU Cocoa Platforms Commitment 2021
Direct Market Access for Ituri Smallholder Farmers Producing Deforestation-free Premium cacao Case Study 2021
Download the Beyond Chocolate Program Document here Brochure 2020

Program Management

  • Charles Snoeck

    Senior Program Manager

  • Marloes humbeeck

    Program Officer

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.