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Common Ground Struck At Cocoa-Certification Workshop

March 19, 2014
by Candy & Snack TODAY

London — Establishing a common framework for cocoa certification programs built around commonalities for sustainability was the goal the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) second international workshop on cocoa certification, held March 6 and 7.

More than 70 stakeholders from Europe, U.S., Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia took part in the conference, which was organized in cooperation with the United Nations Forum on Sustainable Standards.

During the event, ICCO-commissioned consultant Aimee Russillo presented a broad outline for developing a reference framework of commonalities for cocoa sustainability. The document uses a set of commonly agreed pre-competitive minimum requirements with a set threshold level, after which individual certification standards would be able to complete with one another based on their unique criteria.

It was concluded at the workshop that all members of the supply chain would benefit from a common language, reference points and guides, prioritized strategies and activities, and transparency about roles, actions and progress on key issues.

Further, it was determined that for long-term sustainability, more has to be done to reach out to non-organized cocoa farmers, who account for an estimated 80 percent of growers.

The ICCO will host another event on cocoa sustainability June 9 to 13 in Amsterdam. For more information, visit

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