ICCO Workshop in Cameroon gathers worldwide experts to review cocoa certification

London, 12 July 2013—The ICCO’s latest International Workshop brought to Douala, Cameroon a group of world experts to tackle the thorny issue of certification in the cocoa sector.

The International Workshop on Cocoa Certification, which took place from 24 to 27 June 2013 at the Sawa Hotel in Douala (the commercial capital of Cameroon), attracted over 150 participants from all over the African producing region and the world of cocoa. It was organized in conjunction with Cameroon’s Ministry of Commerce, the Office National du Café et du Cacao (ONCC) and the United Nations Forum on Sustainable Standards (UNFSS).

The Workshop’s participants, who included farmers, government officials, representatives of the cocoa and chocolate industries, certification bodies, civil society and international agencies, reviewed cocoa certification with the aim of making recommendations on the best approach to achieve sustainability.

At the end of four days of discussions, the Workshop, which heard from 30 speakers and panellists, adopted a list of recommendations including: enhancing transparency on the impact of certification on farmers’ livelihood, through collecting and disseminating information on sustainability standards; acknowledging the role of existing certification schemes, alongside those in development, as potentially efficient tools through which to support the development of a sustainable cocoa economy; and requesting UNFSS consultation for a better understanding of sustainability standards. The workshop also requested the ICCO to facilitate a direct dialogue between governments representing cocoa producing countries and the cocoa and chocolate companies on this issue.

The week-long event was kindly sponsored by the Government of Cameroon, the UNFSS, the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Hershey, Mondelēz International and Mars Chocolate.

Pictured: Farmer David Aidoo addresses the ICCO’s Cocoa Certification Workshop in Douala, Cameroon in late June 2013 (top); Karin Kreider of ISEAL (above); Christopher Wunderlich of UNFSS (left)

Full details of the Certification Workshop are available by clicking here to go the announcement page, where most of the presentations and all of the recommendations are available for download.