Chocovision 2016 reports out

15 Jun 2016

More than 200 senior leaders, industry experts and other stakeholders participated in Chocovision 2016, the ‘business for business’ conference for the cocoa value chain.

Chocovision 2016 reports out

More than 200 senior leaders, industry experts and other stakeholders participated in Chocovision 2016, the ‘business for business’ conference for the cocoa value chain. It brought together key stakeholders from around the world to discuss strategic topics, chances and challenges that are relevant for the whole chain of the global cocoa and chocolate business sector, as well as discussions started at Chocovision 2012 and 2014.

High-level speakers and panellists come together to address the industry’s challenges Guest speakers at Chocovision 2016 included political leaders from cocoa growing countries including Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon, plus industry representatives from The Hershey Company, Olam International, Mars, Metro Group, Tchibo, Ferrero, Firmenich International, Barry Callebaut and Bühler. Also participating were representatives of NGOs and various stakeholder groups including cocoa farmers from the world’s two largest producing countries, Ivory Coast and Ghana, together with experts along the cocoa value chain as well as young Millenials.

Highlights of this year’s conference included a speech by Lord Michael Hastings, Global Head of Corporate Citizenship at KPMG, who stated that “what matters most in the chocolate industry is not the delight of the consumer but the dignity of the farmer.” He gave the conference a clear direction when he pointed to “more purpose to alleviate poverty.” Lord Hastings said “Yes, it will cost our pockets much, and our profits more, but we will have done a noble thing.”

Jason Clay, SVP, Markets and Executive Director, The Markets Institute, World Wildlife Fund, stressed the emergency state of global food production.

“The food we are going to consume in the next 40 years will equal the food we consumed in the last 8,000 years”, Clay said. Facing threats like climate change and deforestation, he sees the way forward in innovation and collaboration.

Barry Parkin, Chairman World Cocoa Foundation and Chief Sustainability and Health Wellbeing Officer, Mars Incorporated summarized the discussions of industry representatives who talked about what they have done and where they are now. The key message was that we have established strong foundations of trust across the industry, have aligned on the necessary support to farmers and their communities and are now implementing at scale. The next phase will be learning together as we share progress in order to accelerate real impact with farmers. Answering the plea by a group of four outspoken farmer representatives from Ghana and Ivory Coast for more support, Parkin said: “Let’s really crystallize the responsibilities between origin governments and industry so we maximize the impact at the farm level. That way we can help more farmers more quickly.”

Sir Bob Geldof closed the sustainability session of Chocovision 2016 with words of encouragement: “I am thrilled that this is such a very different conference to (four years ago) that first hesitant step towards doing something together.” But he also reassured listeners: “There is no going back.” Geldof appealed to conference participants: ”You can move the needle for hundreds of thousands of people. It’s such a huge responsibility.”

Comparing the industry’s challenges to the ones development ministers face, he also made it very clear. “But there must be some clear aim that you are working towards. What’s the specific target? What are the priorities?”

In his closing remarks, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Barry Callebaut thanked speakers and participants for the lively discussions and their resolve. He summed up the discussions and the situation the industry finds itself in: “We need to raise the floor, leveraging all the good things we have seen at scale. How do we make CocoaAction the norm, not the exception?”

Adding to the sense of urgency, he pointed out that, because of global warming, because of tree aging, and because of farmer poverty, time is running out. Saint-Affrique urged industry, governments and the civil society to continue to work together to address also the topics of deforestation, women’s empowerment for what he described as the “individual and collective roadmap and our agenda for Chocovision 2018.” We need to make sure that the trees we planted over the last few years start bearing fruits. We owe it to the children in the origin countries, we owe it to the people across the world who work in chocolate, and we owe it to the chocolate lovers of the world.”