Dozens of companies, NGO’s, as well as civil society organizations and political representatives, signed a commitment charter in Antwerp, Wednesday, for chocolate production to be 100% sustainable by 2025. The ”Beyond Chocolate” partnership, as it is called, also aims at providing cocoa producers with a vital income. Despite the government’s current political crisis, the Minister of Development and Cooperation Alexander De Croo made the trip to support the initiative.
“It is entirely appropriate that such an example of good cooperation be given today in our country and at the international level,” Deputy Prime Minister (Open VLD) declared, making implicit reference to the immigration pact controversy.
The “Beyond Chocolate” partnership formalizes a set of commitments to eliminate child labor in countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast (first cocoa farmers), to prevent deforestation, generate decent revenues for farmers, and provide access to education for the (families of) various cocoa producers with whom the Belgian chocolate sector cooperates. The latter is committed to invest 35 million euros per year until 2025 in the entire chocolate production, so that it satisfies existing certification standards for sustainable development, and/or so that chocolate is made from raw material that meet the standard of the company’s sustainability program.
“Sustainable trade is the business model to defend because it ensures profitability for all links in the commercial chain, and not just for a select few who enjoy the benefits,” Mr. De Croo said, who was particularly keen to be present today to be able to thank the 80 partners who responded positively to the initiative.