Position paper on certification

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The past months have seen a lot of developments around certification in the cocoa sector – such as the release of the new ISO standard, Fairtrade’s revised Minimum Price and Living Income Reference Price, and a consultation on the first draft of the new merged Rainforest/UTZ  standard. We believe that it is time for civil society to take stock of where we are.

To this purpose we are pleased to share a short position paper on the current state of certification. Of particular concern to us is the danger of a race to the bottom on pricing, and we call strongly on especially the Rainforest Alliance to put in place minimum pricing and premium systems. Increasing market share by paying the farmer less should not be a strategy for any sustainability standard.

In this position paper, we look at the strengths and shortcomings of voluntary standards, and argue that in order to achieve true sustainability there must be mandatory due diligence regulations, creating a level playing field for all.

2018 Cocoa Barometer Released

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Report paints dark chocolate picture: as prices fall, woes rise for farmers, children, forests

Cocoa growing communities, particularly in West Africa, are facing poverty, child labour and deforestation that have been made worse by a rapid fall in prices for cocoa. Widely touted efforts in the cocoa industry to improve the lives of farmers, communities and the environment made in the past decade are having little impact. In fact, the modest scope of the proposed solutions does not even come close to addressing the scale of the problem. These are core conclusions of the 2018 Cocoa Barometer, a biennial review of the state of sustainability in the cocoa sector.

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Accra Workshop: VOICE’s first Farmers Conference

Friday, 2 October 2015

This September, VOICE Network hosted its first farmers workshop in Accra, Ghana. The two day Voice of Farmers and Civil Society Cocoa Workshop was organised as a way to bring farmers, civil society and unions together in an attempt to build relationships between different delegates in the cocoa sector, to share practices and to add to an advocacy program for the coming years.

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Chocolate too Cheap to be Sustainable

Friday, 6 March 2015

Extreme poverty is the norm for West African cocoa farmers. At the same time, the cocoa supply chain is increasingly dominated by a select group of large corporations. Current initiatives and programmes are not sufficient to tackle the challenges that cocoa farming is facing. A more fundamental reform of the sector is needed. These are some of the core conclusions of the 2015 Cocoa Barometer, an initiative of the main European civil society organisations involved in sustainable cocoa production.

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2015 Cocoa Barometer Launch: March 6th

Monday, 23 February 2015

The 2015 Cocoa Barometer will be launched March 6th, 2015, at the Chocoa Conference in Amsterdam.

For press inquiries prior to March 6th, the full version of the 2015 Cocoa Barometer is available (under embargo) upon request.

Antonie Fountain, Managing Director of the VOICE Network, and chief author of the Cocoa Barometer is available for interviews.