ICI has joined both the Dutch Sustainable Cocoa Initiative (DISCO) and the Belgian Sustainable Cocoa Partnership (Beyond Chocolate) with the aim of supporting further alignment and coordination within the sector in the fight against child labour and forced labour.

These national partnerships aim to drive cocoa sustainability, and bring together players from industry, such as cocoa traders, processors, manufacturers, brands and retailers, in addition to civil society organisations, trade unions, academic institutions, government players and certification bodies.

For ICI, joining these partnership helps the organization with its goal of supporting multi-stakeholder coordination within the sector, and encouraging further alignment in the work of all players involved in tackling child labour and forced labour. “

ICI is convinced that in order to tackle challenges such as child labour and forced labour in the cocoa supply chain, all players must work together in a coordinated way. Over the past few years, many advances have been made across the sector and we now know much more about what works. Sharing knowledge and experiences, and improving alignment is now key to ensuring large-scale change. We are really happy to be part of Beyond Chocolate and DISCO and look forward to working together with both organisations and their respective partners, towards our common goal of improving the lives of children and adults in cocoa growing communities,” explained ICI’s Director of Strategy and Operations, Matthias Lange.

“In addition, European Union member states are playing a key role in shaping the evolving European human rights due diligence discourse. Being involved in these discussions at the member state level will be an important part of ensuring that new emerging regulation supports the upscaling of effective actions in the fight against child labour,” he added.

For DISCO, ICI’s membership to the partnership is a way of bringing experience and expertise on tackling child labour in cocoa, in addition to furthering alignment.

“During its latest meeting, the DISCO Steering Committee unanimously agreed to add ICI to the DISCO partnership. ICI is seen as an important international organization addressing child labour in cocoa, bringing its experience and expertise on child labour to the DISCO partnership, while also being important for increased European alignment on this topic,” explained Mark de Waard, Senior Programme Officer for Cocoa at IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, which hosts DISCO.

Beyond Chocolate Program Manager Charles Snoeck echoed these points, underlining that coordination between the different sustainability platforms in Europe is particularly important.

“Beyond Chocolate is happy to welcome ICI to the partnership. We are convinced ICI’s expertise in the field of child protection will contribute in a valuable way to Beyond Chocolate’s ambition to end child labour in the cocoa supply chain. Now being a member of all four national initiatives on sustainable cocoa in Europe (ISCOs), ICI will help accelerate our international efforts, ensuring a better future for children and their families,” he said.

ICI joined the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa (SwissCo) in July 2019 and the German initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) in April 2021.