European Cocoa Association backs EU Commission’s plans for tackling deforestation

European Cocoa Association backs EU Commission’s plans for tackling deforestation

The European Cocoa Association (ECA) has welcomed plans being put forward from the European Commission for a regulation aimed at tackling the major issue of deforestation, writes Neill Barston.

As the organisation noted, the latest proposals from the EU contribute to the creation of an enabling mechanism in cocoa cocoa producing countries, that are alignment with existing efforts by all ECA member companies engaging with such key environmental issues.

One of ECA members prime areas of engagement has been the Cocoa and Forest Initiative (CFI), a key initiative signed by 35 leading cocoa and chocolate companies, the Governments of Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Columbia – is to halt deforestation, restore forests and train farmers in sustainable cocoa farming practices.

As the ECA noted, obligations flowing from this regulation must reach up and down the entire supply chain – from cocoa bean to end product – and all those directly and indirectly involved. Thus, all actors who place products on the EU market or export from it, as well as those who make them available for consumption or use inside the EU market, should be included.

Furthermore, the ECA added that a partnership approach is essential to the success of such regulation: where strict obligations for European companies are introduced, there must be, in accompaniment ambitious and robust cooperation between the European Union and cocoa producing (origin) countries.

In its view, the development of such systems will prove an enabling environment for the production of sustainable cocoa and to enhance effective capacity-building to ensure avoidance of indirect change of land use and goods linked with deforestation being accepted by non-EU consumer countries – where proof of provenance obligations may be lighter or non-existent.

In a statement on the issue, the ECA added: “This cooperation should include the financial and technical support for the development and implementation of a government-mandated traceability system in origin countries, including mandatory reporting and improved mapping.

“Given the complexity of the enforcement procedures, the Regulation should envisage adequate support for national government agencies in providing necessary guidance, resources, and expertise to evaluate the design, adequacy, and implementation of company due diligence systems. A high level of preparedness and expertise will help ensure that there is minimal disruption of import flows on the EU market and that both the operators and traders, as defined by this Regulation, can continue their operations swiftly. The ECA is highly supportive of increased transparency in the cocoa supply chain.”

The organisation added that the legislation should allow for an adequate transition period, leaving sufficient time for companies expected to bear the custodianship of the supply chain to adapt and develop their investment and processes to the requirements of the Regulation. This would, in its view, ensure effective implementation that has positive impact in producing countries.

New ECA appointment

In other ECA news, the association said it was  delighted to announce the appointment of Huyser, Möller B.V. as a new ECA Effective Member under the Trader category.

The latest addition to its ranks comes amid notable expansion over the last 5 years, with its membership increasing significantly from 30 Members to more than 40.

Founded in Amsterdam in 1931, Huyser Möller is involved in the import and export of cocoa products. In March 2006,  opened its doors to new office premises in Edam. The company’s product range consists of cocoa beans, cocoa butter, cocoa powders and liquor.

They select their cocoa beans and products on the basis of their customers’ requirements, taking into account the way in which the cocoa is processed and the certification required.

ECA president, Harold Poelma, noted the significance of the organisation. He said: ‘ECA is a well-recognised and trusted association, which plays a dynamic role in defending the interests of its Members vis-à-vis the EU authorities and other key stakeholders in the cocoa sector. Representing cocoa processors, traders and logistics providers in Europe, ECA has built strong strategic alliances over the years with other crucial actors in the cocoa supply chain. ECA also serves as a platform for discussion for its Members, actively engaging in initiatives which promote the industry’s contribution to a sustainable cocoa economy’.

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