Get to know the Beyond Chocolate Steering Committee

The Beyond Chocolate Partnership is guided by a multi-actor Steering Committee. It provides strategic guidance on the implementation and direction of the Belgian sustainable chocolate programme. The main role of the Steering Committee is to give direction to the IDH Secretariat on strategic programme development and implementation issues within the context of the “Beyond Chocolate” partnership agreement of December 2018. It will also advise the IDH Secretariat on new developments and priorities in the Belgian chocolate sector and their impact on the programme.

The steering committee consists of :

  • a representative of the DGD private sector unit;
  • a representative of the Choprabisco Board;
  • a representative of the Belgian civil society;
  • a representative of the Belgian supermarket chains;
  • a representative of the Belgian knowledge institutions;
  • a representative of one of the social impact funds.

These are the members:

Patrick Hautphenne – Chair

Patrick Hautphenne chairs the Steering Committee. He is a Board Member of Choprabisco, the Royal Belgian Association of the Chocolate, Pralines, Biscuit and Sugar confectionery industries. Choprabisco has 170 members (of which 2/3 are active in chocolate and pralines) and is integrated within Fevia, the Belgian federation of the food industry.

Patrick has 23 years’ experience in the cocoa and chocolate industry, where he held several senior management positions within Barry Callebaut as Vice President Europe North and Vice President Specialties Western Europe.

Since beginning of this year, Patrick is Sales & Marketing Manager and Board member of Desobry, a major European producer of premium biscuit assortments.

Jean-Jacques Bastien

Jean-Jacques Bastien is the head of the Private Sector Development service of the Directorate-General Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid. He is a bioengineer and has been working as diplomat for the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Jean-Jacques is specialized on development issues. He worked successively in Costa Rica, Bolivia, South Africa, Ecuador and finally in New York at the Belgian mission to the United Nations.

Since 2017, he has been working at the headquarter in Brussels focusing on issues related to the private sector engagement for sustainable development. In his role of Head of Unit he developed new instruments to enter in partnerships with the private sector to leverage private capital, expertise, innovation and core business to benefit small and medium sized enterprises in developing countries like the Business Partnership Facility which provides grants to support and develop private sector involvement in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries and the Beyond Chocolate initiative.

Charles Snoeck

Charles Snoeck (1985) studied social sciences in Brussels and Ghent. He has almost ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector and likes to inspire people to achieve positive change. Since 2017, he is responsible for Civil Society Engagement at Fairtrade Belgium. In his role, he contributes to securing an enabling environment where the ambitions of the Fair Trade movement can be achieved. Charles has placed a special focus on the ambition for living incomes for cocoa farmers in West Africa and the sustainability of the Belgian cocoa sector. By uniting stakeholders, politicians and decision makers, he ensures that fair trade continues to make a constructive contribution to the sustainability debate to strengthen and increase impact in the South.

Mieke Vercaeren

Mieke Vercaeren graduated as a commercial engineer international trade, and specialised in development cooperation at the University of Ghent and internal audit at UAMS. Following 7 years of intensive basic work on poverty in an action research centre, she worked at the University of Antwerp on an analysis tool to improve the work-life balance in companies. Later on, she joined CommonSense (now Sustenuto) to advise large companies on corporate social responsibility and citizenship, followed by 5 years of shaping and promoting sustainable entrepreneurship from a government perspective at different cabinets. The last 10 years, she joined Colruyt Group working on sustainabity, public affairs and innovative international projects (EIT Food). At the moment she manages the unit sustainable products improving the private label portfolio on health, social topics, environmental performance and animal welfare in the value chain. She is also responsible for the educational projects of the Collibri Foundation, investing in the empowerment of youngsters worldwide.

Patrick Van Damme

Patrick Van Damme is professor tropical agriculture and ethnobotany both at Ghent University (Belgium) and Czech University of Life Sciences (Prague, Czech Republic). He has been doing research (and publishing) on cocoa both cropping and value chains. Since 2010 Patrick has been monitoring several private sector-financed cocoa research projects in Malaysia, Indonesia and Ivory Coast. He is chair of the European Forum for Agricultural Research for Development, and of the Africa Platform of the University Association Ghent.

Wouter Vandersypen 

Wouter Vandersypen is Executive Director of Kampani, a social impact investment fund.  Kampani provides growth capital to producer organisations of smallholder farmers in the South.
After his studies in Leuven, Fribourg, Tübingen, Bologna and Washington DC, Wouter worked for five years in the economic development sector.  He worked for the World Bank from Washington DC, in Congo Brazzaville with the International Rescue Committee and in Darfur, Sudan, with the International Committee of the Red Cross.  With a desire to settle and start a family, he subsequently moved back to Brussels and worked for PwC for almost six years, before taking up the challenge at Kampani.  In addition to being a member of the Beyond Chocolate Steering Committee, Wouter is on the Board of Invale (a private equity fund), SEED (a reforestation initiative in the Sahel region), Trias, and Fairtrade Belgium.