Increasing transparency and professionalism in the cocoa sector
The French chocolate company CÉMOI, working alongside the NGO TechnoServe, has been increasing transparency regarding the cocoa they use and providing aid to the cocoa farmers who grow it.
Many companies cannot trace their cocoa
Chocolate is a beloved treat in many places around the world. However, many chocolate companies cannot trace the cocoa they use. The cocoa industry has some major problems, including child labor and the lack of a fair wage for many farmers. If chocolate companies cannot trace their cocoa, then they cannot know if the farmers who grew it were paid fairly, or if child labor was involved in the process. If these companies are going to make positive change in the cocoa industry, then they must first establish transparency in their own chain.
How CÉMOI is taking a stand
In 2015, the French chocolate company CÉMOI decided that transparency on its own was not enough. To do more, they founded the organization Transparence Cacao. Here, they work to improve the quality of life for cocoa farmers who provide the cocoa for CÉMOI’s chocolate. Their program has a three-step approach: 1) knowing the cocoa producers, 2) transforming the cooperatives and farmers into sustainable professionals, and 3) verifying their impact with the help of outside partners.
In the past six years, Transparence Cocoa has already made a positive impact on the sector. They have trained over 22,000 farmers in good agricultural practices and intend to train at least 60,000 in all. They have worked with 74 communities to help them gain access to water, healthcare, and schools, and they plan to increase that number to 100 by 2021. Thanks to these efforts, CÉMOI can now trace 100% of its cocoa back to the cooperative that produced it.
The impact of TechnoServe training
The global NGO TechnoServe is one of the technical partners for Transparence Cacao and has been since 2016. As part of the second step in Transparence Cacao’s approach, TechnoServe has worked with sixteen affiliated cocoa cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire to professionalize them and build their capacity. These sixteen cooperatives work in turn with CÉMOI and provide them with cocoa to make their chocolate.
To figure out where to begin regarding training the cooperatives, TechnoServe used our SCOPE Basic tool to assess them. Once they had a clear idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the cooperatives, the training began. TechnoServe first worked on basic business practices and operations with these cooperatives. This improved relationships among the farmers in the cooperative and increased transparency. TechnoServe also helped cooperatives to improve their financial practices.
Even after the training ended, TechnoServe remained in the area to help. Together with the cooperatives, they created service centers where farmers could deliver harvests and receive necessary services, both for themselves and their communities. This has improved communication between the farmers and the cooperative employees. Twice a month, a TechnoServe coach visits these centers to give follow-up support.
Scaling up the project
While SCOPE reassessments on the sixteen cooperatives are still ongoing, early results indicate that TechnoServe’s training has increased their level of professionalism. TechnoServe has already begun preparing to scale up their impact to help Transparence Cacao reach their desired 60,000 farmers. With the two organizations working together, this goal seems entirely reachable. Transparence Cacao, with the help of its partners like TechnoServe, will continue improving the cocoa sector for thousands of farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and increasing transparency in the cocoa chain.
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