Sustainability in Supply Chain of Cacao’ at the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Sustainable Development
The entire supply chain of cacao, from farmer to supermarket was under the spotlight during the ‘Sustainability in Supply Chain of Cacao’ at the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Sustainable Development (PBNE – Parlamentarischer Beirat für nachhaltige Entwicklung) which I attended on the 27th of April, 2016 in Berlin.
Cacao is just one of the topic the Advisory Council are reviewing as they put together as part of a total package whereby they create >
1. Sustainability Policy: Objectives and structure
2. Position Papers and resolutions on specific issues
3. Budgetary and subsidy policy
4. Regulatory impact assessment
Examples of topics they work on can be found here.
The Council has been running for 12 years and I attended the event regarding cacao on behalf of Unternehmensgrün, and also with the hat of having founded two chocolate social enterprises, one in teaching farmers and chocolatiers 10 core principles of cacao and the second facilitating trade between the two.
The Council looks to pay into both state and national departments as well as engage the Global Sustainability Goals and Europe 2020.
The Council says
prosperity and quality of life for all can only be promoted in the long term, if we base our daily actions and business consistently the principle of sustainability. Sustainable development that enables social improvement and economic progress within the planetary boundaries.
Within this context the Council had invited the Forum Nachhatige Kakao e.V. to present a summary of key issues within the supply chain. Known in english as the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa, it was founded in 2012 as a multistakeholder initiative bringing together the 4 key pillars of the industry in Germany, German cacao and confectionary companies, German food retailers, German government and non-Government organisations with the purpose to make a solution for sustainable cacao development with all stakeholders together. Special focus on challenges within cacao growing, and child labour. All together 68 key contributors have been working together to achieve the goals of
- Improve quality of life for cacao farmers and families
- Evolve natural resources and biodiversity in farming
- To develop the marketing of sustainable cacao
In my opinion, that the Advisory Council chose cacao as one of their commodities to focus on is key. Cacao is not only often an ingredient found in many food products, but also it represents a large number of injustices rampant in food that is grown far away from the consumer. Sugar, coffee and tea also come into this category in my opinion.
According to latest statistics from the BDSI and ICCO, there are approximately five and a half million cacao farmers (named) in the world, working in various conditions from having their own few hectares of land in the family, to those captive under company regimes in forced labour. Operating in almost monopoly both in terroir and sales, the industry contributes over 70% of raw materials from the African continent, leaving 18% in south america and 9.5% in Asia-Pacific region. Given that cacao grows naturally 20 latitude degrees above and below the equator, the growing patterns don’t mirror the environmental potential. Approximately four million tonnes of cacao was traded in the last year of which the majority was imported to Europe.
The topic of sustainability of cacao in Germany is relevant because Germany has one of the highest rates per capita consumption of chocolate in the world, and gets overwhelmingly, cacao supplied from the most polarised locations – 56% from Ivory Coast and 16% from Ghana.
According to Oxfam, farmers on average receive US$ 0.50 cents per day for their work, US$ 0.85 in Ghana and the fair trade price is US$ 2.00. Should Germany be looking to evolve sustainable supply chains, as the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Sustainable Development states, this is a key place to be looking. One of the largest importers, one of the largest eaters of the commodity which is sourced in clearly, one of the most unjust ways.
In my opinion, the key issues in cacao are income equality, farm size and rights to ownership, market concentration and community organisation.
During the Advisory Council on the 27th of April, the key advisor, Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao e.V explained key projects which directly engage such issues like Project Pro-Planters which is about life quality increases in selected regions. 20.000 farmers, from 20 communities participated in training regarding growing and organisation, to better equip and empower them to diversity food crops, and also work together. The Forum delivers this work directly into the heartland which supplies German chocolate industry, and I believe is a good project that helps both the industry at large (as a lighthouse project), and is directly relevant forth German consumer.
Evolving policy, resolutions, budget and subsidy reviews will be key to making real change in the industry.
During the Advisory Council, members of Parliament asked questions about the following topics
- How to influence visibility of sustainable cacao in shelf space of retailers
- How the investment costs for certification of ethical cacao works
- Where corruption in the industry is