Supply Change Addressing Due Diligence in Supermarket Supply Chains

We were delighted to be part of the 2017 European Round Table: Supply Change (SUPPLY CHA!NGE) Addressing Due Diligence in Supermarket Supply Chains in Brussels.

In a break out group, Lyss represented BLYSS and was partnered with Christopher Tankou from the University of Dschang to discuss the role of small and medium size companies in improving local development and livelihoods in the Global South.  Both Lyss and Christopher work in cacao development, from farming to science, so they focused on sharing their experiences and lessons learned while directly working with small farm holders in Philippines and Cameroon.


Using what they have learned first hand, they went over:

  • Ways to improve lives of the community
  • Ways to improve local development
  • Opportunities and threats to the chocolate industry

They also went into more specifics on how to spark interest from policy makers in business development, international aid and development, global biodiversity and agroecology, as well as retailers who stock products with chocolate / cacao ingredients, and have chocolate supply chains.

Examples Lyss gave came from her experience founding and

As the discussion for the group continued, 2 main topics were discussed:

  1.  For Policy Makers – what policy makers in Europe can do to positively influence small farm holders and ethical SMEs to evolve in the global marketplace which supports small farm holders and ethical developments in cacao farming for food and cosmetics.  
    • Some important elements for the discussion were: agri-loans and poverty cycle, biodiversity, food safety issues (cadmium, ochratoxin, PAH, mercury, mineral oils, hydrocarbons), labeling and origin.
  2. For Retailers – what supply chain / procurement standards could be used in Europe to influence a better import of quality, and ethical chocolate and cacao products.
    • Improving certification and labeling of products, farm-gate checks would influence better import quality.  
    • However this can also be achieved through improving farmers’ conditions in various ways: by obtaining credits for farm activities, provision of high quality planting materials, road infrastructure, better drying and conservation conditions; furthermore financing scientific research on different cultivation practices including organic farming and biodiversity that can improve the quantity and quality of cocoa.
    • Lastly, by improving the vertical integration of farmers in the cocoa value chain through education on some transformation techniques of the cocoa beans, the business could become more attractive to youth who have to replace the aging farmers.


The forum then broke up into working groups that had many great ideas and advice to lend not not only for cacao, but for other industries as well, on topics such as:

  • Blending: difficult to tell origin and that greater transparency of track and trace is necessary to support the industry
  • That origin is often used as a façade (like organic certification)
  • There is an opportunity of mixed industry, like eco tourism to help support cacao
  • There are some technologies available like RML Ag Tech to possible support: also to look at new apps like Map Your Meal

The official report from the summit can be read by clicking here.

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