IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative and the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) have jointly commissioned a study on cocoa traceability, which is released today. The study is supported by the UK-aid-funded Partnerships for Forests (P4F) Programme in the context of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative and provides an overview of challenges, as well as recommendations for a more transparent and traceable cocoa supply chain.
Enhancing the sustainability of cocoa farming and of the whole cocoa sector, is not possible without adequate forms of cocoa traceability. Knowing where cocoa is being farmed is indeed an important first step and a pre-requisite to designing appropriate programs that improve the sustainability of cocoa farming. The good news is that in recent years, an increasing number of value chain actors have been designing and implementing their own traceability systems. However, the proliferation of initiatives and systems may create confusion.
To provide more clarity on the state of traceability systems in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon, which jointly represent about 70% of global cocoa production, IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative and the German initiative on sustainable cocoa jointly commissioned a study on cocoa traceability. The findings from the study were summarized into a Technical Brief on Cocoa Traceability, which is released today.
This Technical Brief provides an overview of the state of cocoa traceability in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon, insights on existing challenges, as well as recommendations for a more transparent and traceable cocoa supply chain. It was developed by C-lever.org, based on desk research and interviews with government representatives from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon, cocoa and chocolate companies, standard setting organizations and technical service providers. Next to this traceability brief, a series of case studies will also be published the following weeks, exploring in more detail how companies and standard setting organizations are implementing traceability in their operations.
Recommendations from the Technical Brief include the alignment on standardised definitions and traceability metrics, a topic that the national platforms for sustainable cocoa in Europe have already started working on, in close collaboration with other organizations such as the International Cocoa Initiative and the World Cocoa Foundation. The Brief also calls for the harmonisation and sharing of cocoa traceability and sustainability data between value chain actors, including between governments and companies. The sharing of data and interoperability of traceability systems could indeed help to provide accurate insights and information on the reliability and consistency of cocoa origin and sustainability data. Furthermore, the brief emphasizes that farmers and their organizations should benefit from the system. It argues that farmers should be incentivized to provide accurate data and empowered to access benchmark farming data that can inform their farming practices.
These recommendations will be used as a basis for further discussion between members of the national platforms for sustainable cocoa in Europe, as part of their joint Working Group on Cocoa Traceability. The Working Group brings together key stakeholders from the private sector, NGOs, research institutions and governments, and aims to progress the thinking and practices towards enhancing the sustainability of the cocoa sector.Download the Traceability Brief Here