Dialogue on due diligence in the cocoa value chain

16 May 2024. The AL-INVEST Verde programme, as a part of the Component 2 of AL-INVEST Verde organised the workshop "Due diligence for deforestation-free cocoa under the EUDR".as part of the series "Dialogues on sustainable cocoa". This initiative is developed in collaboration with the SAFE programme - implemented by the German cooperation agency GIZ - and with the technical support of the European Forest Institute (EFI).

The workshop was attended by representatives of the European Commission, as well as producer countries from Africa - Côte d'Ivoire - and Latin America - Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.. The meeting, which was organised virtually, analysed the criterion of free deforestation in the framework of the European Union Deforestation and Forest Degradation Free Regulation (EUDR)The Commission has also addressed the issues related to compliance with due diligence.

The AL-INVEST Verde programme, as a part of the European Union Ambassador to Ecuador, Charles-Michel Geurtsopened the workshop. In his presentation, he stressed the importance of this type of forum to facilitate, he said, that the EUDR "is an opportunity for countries, operators and farmers in the cocoa value chain".

Then, on behalf of the European Commission, the following took part John BazillInternational Policy Officer in the Latin America Unit of DG Trade, and Regis MeritanHead of Sector for Agricultural Growth, Sustainable Agri-Food Systems and Fisheries, Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA).

Following these interventions, Carlos RianoThe European Forest Institute (EFI) expert on Forest Governance and Land Use gave a presentation on "Due diligence considerations for the EUDR with respect to the deforestation-free criterion". He highlighted, among other aspects, the importance of having "public and transparent data" to facilitate due diligence. "It supports the country in reducing risks," he said.

From Côte d'Ivoire, Fernand BaleThe Director of the National Centre for Geographic Information (CIGN) presented the land cover map of the country, produced in the framework of the implementation of the National Strategy on Sustainable Cocoa (SNCD), with the support of FAO, the EU, EFI and the JRC. This map shows the location of forests, cropland and raw material production lands affected by the EUDR on a specific date.

The workshop continued with the presentation of advances in public policies in Latin America. To this end, the workshop was attended by Fernando MendesRegional Research and Innovation Coordinator of the Executive Commission of the Cocoa Plan (CEPLAC) of Brazil; Edersson Cabrera MontenegroCoordinator of the Forest and Carbon Monitoring System of the Colombian Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM); Ximena María Herrera Jiróna specialist in forestry regulations at the Directorate of Forestry of the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador; and Daniel Arturo Castillo SotoHead of the area of Monitoring the Conservation Status of Forest Ecosystems of the Ministry of Environment (MINAM) of Peru.

The event was closed by Ute SontagCoordinator of the Sustainable Agriculture Project for Forest Ecosystems of the SAFE programme of GIZ (Ecuador), and Emilio CalvoThe AL-INVEST Verde programme's Component 2 director.

EUDR and sustainable cocoa

The EU Regulation on Deforestation and Forest Degradation Free Supply Chains (EUDR) was adopted in June 2023 and will be implemented as of 30 December 2024 (six months later for micro and small enterprises). The EUDR will require operators introducing, trading or exporting cocoa or cocoa derivatives to EU markets to submit a due diligence declaration. This declaration shall demonstrate that the products comply with the relevant legislation of the country of production and originate from land that has not experienced deforestation after 31 December 2020.

For the competent authorities of the EU Member States to verify compliance with the deforestation-free criterion, operators shall have the responsibility to provide conclusive and verifiable information. They should therefore collect the geolocation coordinates of all lands where cocoa is sourced and submit them in the due diligence declaration. Subsequently, the competent authorities may, during controls on their territories, compare the coordinates provided with satellite images or forest cover maps to confirm that the cocoa comes from areas free of deforestation at the established cut-off date.

These information-gathering processes can be supported by the governments of productive countries. Governments can facilitate access to data from various public tools. that have been designed to record productive information or accurately monitor the environmental sustainability of their productive value chains. These tools include forest cover or land use maps, deforestation monitoring and early warning systems, traceability platforms and agroforestry systems registers, among others.

In this context, the AL-INVEST Verde programme, financed by the European Union through its Component 2 -implemented by FIIAPP and IILA-, in collaboration with the SAFE programme -implemented by the German cooperation agency GIZ- and with the technical support of the European Forest Institute (EFI), will carry out the following projects three virtual dialogues on the cocoa chain to address different EUDR requirements: deforestation-free, traceability and legality. The second workshop will be held on 12 June. 

About AL-INVEST Verde

AL-INVEST Verde is a programme funded by the European Union (EU). Its main objective is to promote sustainable growth and job creation in Latin America by supporting the transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient and more circular economy. Through Component 2, led by FIIAPP in consortium with IILAThe programme provides assistance for strengthening public policy and multi-stakeholder dialogues on sustainable agricultural and value chains, environmental and labour standards, as well as sustainable trade and economic policy and regulatory frameworks.