ICCO and UNFSS partner on 2nd International Cocoa Certification Workshop

On March 6-7, 2014, the International Cocoa Organization, in collaboration with the UNFSS, held The Second International Workshop on Cocoa Certification: Direct Dialogue Between The Industry and Producing Countries in Zurich, Switzerland on the issue of Sustainability Standards in the cocoa sector. At the event were over 70 participants from Europe, the United States, Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia, representing cocoa producers, governments from cocoa exporting and importing countries, the cocoa and chocolate industry, certification bodies, civil society and international agencies.

The two-day event focused on assisting existing and emerging national and international sustainability-related standards to develop a common framework, using a set of commonly agreed pre-competitive, minimum requirements, up to a threshold level. The discussion built upon a background document prepared and presented by Ms. Aimee Russillo, which looked at the common areas between private, national and international standards. Along with very interesting panel sessions, breakout groups discussed the common reference document and recommendations for moving the issue forward; identifying key areas that need to be addressed to have standards function as an effective tool for sustainable development; including investment in farmer support and sustainable trade.

The workshop concluded that the common reference framework should be used in the ICCO adopted process of members developing national strategies and PPPs on sustainable cocoa production and trade. The UNFSS was asked to continue its support of this process.  The results were presented to the ICCO Consultative Board during its session the following week.

For more information please see the attached documents:



The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) is a joint initiative of 5 UN Agencies (FAO, ITC, UNCTAD, UN Environment and UNIDO) that seeks to address these challenges. It is a demand-driven forum for intergovernmental actors to communicate among each other and engage with key target groups (producers, traders, consumers, standard-setters, certification-bodies, trade diplomats, relevant NGOs and researchers) to address their information needs and influence concerned stakeholders. It aims to provide impartial information, analysis, and discussions on VSS and their potential contribution to facilitate market access, strengthen public goods and achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most importantly, the UNFSS focuses on potential trade or development obstacles VSS may create, with particular emphasis on their impact on SMEs and less developed countries.

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