EUDR and chocolate: will the industry be able to adapt?BY ALVARO CORONA

In late June the EU Deforestation-free Regulation (EUDR) was officially in action and operators now have 18 months to implement proper methods to meet the regulation. This cross-commodity policy applies to a range of resources that have proven to contribute to deforestation in the past; such commodities include cacao, cattle, coffee, palm oil, rubber, soy, wood, and other derived products. It mandates that products containing these resources must demonstrate that they are not linked to deforestation before entering the EU market.

According to researchers with the Mighty Earth organisation, 75% of the world’s cocoa originates from west Africa and more specifically from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The EU consumes roughly 59% of the produced cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire. Since the 1960’s, Côte d’Ivoire has lost 94% and Ghana has lost 80% of their forests. At least 33% of this forest loss was due to expansion of cocoa production. There have already been movements to mitigate the effects cocoa has such as the joint public-private partnership between Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana known as the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI). Joint with leading cocoa and chocolate companies, the CFI has aimed to address the challenges behind deforestation throughout the supply chain. The World Cocoa Foundation claims that this has led to a 72% traceability rate in both countries when buying directly from the farmers. Despite great improvements there is much to accomplish in the coming 18 months.

The EUDR requires that the cocoa must be traceable, deforestation-free, and in compliance of local laws. This means that companies with cocoa products such as chocolate companies must complete due diligence to mitigate any risks. Similar to other commodities, the implementation of monitoring systems has proven difficult. Since 2017, the CFI has been able to reach 72% traceability, but it forces us to question; why has it taken 6 years to reach 72% traceability? Will the industry be able to reach 100% in the next 18 months? Despite the availability of monitoring technology, many companies are failing to capitalize on these tools to track deforestation across their supply chains. There is a positive trend in addressing the issues faced in the cocoa sector however companies must enhance their policies and practices to reach 100% traceability. The EUDR in combination with other movements will hopefully accelerate the progress of deforestation-free and transparent supply chain in the cocoa industry.


>> Read Tackling traceability: exploring opportunities and challenges under the EUDR <<

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