Sustainability, and new technology and the opportunities it provides, will be among the key topics addressed at the 2019 European Cocoa Forum, which is to take place in Lisbon, 17-19 September 2019.
Designed to enable attendees to learn about challenges and opportunities in the cocoa sector, the event will feature high-level representatives from cocoa producing countries, the European cocoa and chocolate industry, European and international institutions, cocoa-related organisations and civil society.
Among the issues to be addressed is where is the cocoa industry on climate change? What are the new challenges for cocoa growing, and how best should we reduce cocoa’s carbon footprint? These and other questions will be addressed in the first of four panels at the forum. Speakers on the first panel will include Steven Retzlaff (ECA Chairman and President of Global Cocoa at Barry Callebaut), Alain-Richard Donwahi (Minister of Waters and Forests of Ivory Coast), Beatriz Yordi (Director, EU Commission, DG CLIMA), Soetanto Abdoellah (Chairman, Indonesian Cocoa Board), Renat Heuberger (CEO, South Pole) and Emily Black (Professor, University of Reading).
Other panels will tackle issues such as how building a low carbon economy could affect the way in which the European cocoa industry operates; how the cocoa business can adapt to be prepared for tomorrow’s challenges, and how to better understand the complex interactions between cocoa cultivation and climate change.
Also due to be addressed at the Lisbon event is how new technology is influencing trading and price behaviour in cocoa and its impact on price volatility? What role might blockchain play? Can it add value? How might satellite technology improve traceability and help to reduce forest degradation? A panel on values in cocoa, new technology and ‘unblocking blockchain’ will help to answer some of these questions. Confirmed panellists for this part of the conference include Jonathan Parkman (Joint Head of Agriculture, Marex Financial), Mischa Tripoli (Economist, Trade and Markets Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Rob McWilliam (Global Director, Earthworm Foundation/Airbus Defence & Space) and Christophe Alliot (Director, BASIC).
Food safety and quality will also be on the menu in a panel that will include Gerry Manley (ECA Board member, Managing Director and CEO Cocoa, OLAM), Sabine Jülicher (Director Food and Feed Safety and Innovation, DG SANTE, European Commission), Joachim Tretzel (President, SGF International, Darin Sukha (Research Fellow/Food Technologist, Cocoa Research Centre, University of the West Indies), and Maria Florencia Williams (Global R&D Manager and Head of Global Sensory, Barry Callebaut).
The last panel at the forum will focus on four main themes: presenting the EU framework and options to tackle deforestation and child labour; clarifying the key steps towards sustainable cocoa; how child labour has been addressed efficiently in other tropical commodities; and certification, how governments, companies and standards can work together.
The conference will be held at the Pestana Palace Hotel, a venue with strong ties to Portugal’s cocoa history.
More information is available from the European Cocoa Association: https://www.eurococoa.com/en/