Antonie Fountain of the Voice Network set for 2024’s World Confectionery Conference

Antonie Fountain of the Voice Network set for 2024's World Confectionery Conference

The managing director of the Voice Network cocoa sector organisation, Antonie Fountain, has become the latest industry name to play his part in our 2024 edition of the World Confectionery Conference this autumn.

Having been a key advocate of driving reforms on tackling headline human rights issues of child labour, as well as enhancing pay and conditions for farmers, he will be joining our Q&A on sustainability for our must-attend event on 12 September in Brussels, Belgium.

Plans for the show are progressing strongly, with our line-up near completion for the show, which features keynote presentations from Caobisco European confectionery trade association, Ferrero, Cargill, Tony’s Chocolonely, Mintel global insights and FMCG Gurus research group, among a wide range of contributors across core areas of equipment, ingredients, finished products and supply chains serving the international sector.

Early bird rates for our event. which celebrates our title’s 90th anniversary have also been extended until July 15, so make sure to register for the show via our dedicated website at confectioneryconference.com, which also features our annual industry awards celebrating success across finished products, sustainability, equipment innovation and emerging enterprises. There is also an additional bonus of a special Belgian chocolate tasting event the following day from the main conference, on 13 September.

Speaking to Confectionery Production at the recent World Cocoa Conference, Antonie Fountain believed that progress was being made in relation to key sustainability issues on environmental performance and reducing child labour, yet acknowledged that significant challenges remained.

He said: “If we look at everything that has been said at the conference over the past three days, it feels like sustainability has won the battle for the words. Every important thing that needs to be said has been said, and I think that we need to win the battle of the works – it’s only a one word difference, but it’s a world of difference. The big challenge now is how we’re going do this, but having won that battle of the words is a major step forward.

On the issue of addressing rates of child labour, he added: “The first step in dealing with a problem is acknowledging that you have one. So we need to be willing to face the truth, and so I would say over the past couple of years, we have started to see really hopeful metrics on child labour. When companies are doing the right thing, they can quite significantly reduce child labour by up to 30% through the (CLMRS (child labour remediation systems) alone.”

Confectionery Production’s editor, Neill Barston added: “Having such a passionate sustainability champion as Antonie join our line-up for the 2024 World Confectionery Conference is a very welcome boost to our event indeed, and I am sure that he will offer some fine insights on how to unlock the keys for driving the pace of improvements to the vital supply chains serving our sweets and snacks industries.

The Q&A session has proved a notable highlight of our previous event editions, and I am sure that this year’s iteration will not disappoint in putting some of the hottest topics under the microscope and reflecting on the ever-changing issues affecting our sectors, including the upcoming EUDR regulations on deforestation, traceability and respecting human rights.”