Report of the 2nd Working Group Meeting on the Roundtable for a Sustainable Cocoa Economy (RSCE)

Berlin, Germany

27 May 2008

Opening of Meeting

1. The Co-chairs welcomed participants to the second Working Group meeting of the Round Table for a Sustainable Cocoa Economy (RSCE), including Ms. Gine Zwart, who joined the meeting through telephone conference call.

Adoption of Agenda

2. The draft agenda was adopted.

Dates and Venue of RSCE2

3. The Co-chairs informed members that the RSCE2 would be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago from 24-26 March 2009. A field trip was planned for 27 March 2009 to a cocoa farm and the internationally renowned cocoa gene bank of Trinidad & Tobago. The Co-chairs thanked the Government of Trinidad & Tobago for the generous offer to host the RSCE2. The Hotel provides ample and excellent meeting facilities, and has offered very competitive rates for participants who book early.

4. The representative from Malaysia informed members that the Malaysian Cocoa Board was planning to hold an International Cocoa Conference from 6-9 April 2009. Considering the close proximity of the dates, the Executive Director proposed to discuss the matter further with the Malaysian delegate in order to finalize the dates for RSCE2.

Funding of RSCE2

5. The Executive Director reported that the Dutch Government has committed €150,000 for the Roundtable and €45,000 for preparatory activities, while the Governments of Germany and Switzerland have promised €150,000 and CHF100,000 (equivalent to ca. €61,000) respectively to sponsor the roundtable.

Trinidad & Tobago has offered to provide office equipment and audio-visual facilities for the meeting. With the kind sponsorship from these countries, about 95% of the budget had been secured. The budget included sponsorship for the participation of 12 farmer representatives and 11 NGO representatives.

Preparatory meeting in Africa

6. A preparatory event leading towards RSCE2 has been planned to gather inputs from cocoa stakeholders in Africa to be held in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire from 27-30 October 2008. Participation however should not be limited to West African countries. It was proposed to consider approaching four or five large companies to sponsor the event, each contributing an amount of €15,000. The representative from the Netherlands invited WWF and Oxfam to also contribute financially to this event. Members stressed the importance to clarify the relationship between this preparatory meeting and RSCE2, as some stakeholders cannot attend both events. The representative from Ghana suggested creating national steering committees in order to gather opinions and contributions to the preparatory meeting and the Roundtable.

Substantive work and documentation

7. The Co-chairs recalled the five documents to be prepared as working papers for RSCE2: i) a study of sustainability and certification initiatives in operation or under development; ii) best known practices in the cocoa value chain, including the safe use of pesticides; iii) traceability and tracking; iv) social issues on labour in cocoa; and v) a draft of principles for a sustainable cocoa economy. These documents will form the background information for RSCE2.

8. The Co-chairs indicated that another document should be prepared to define how the RSCE Working Group should operate, clarifying for example the mode of decision making, defining terms such as code, standard, criteria or indicators, so that participants would have a common understanding in the RSCE discussions. There was agreement regarding the importance to define clear procedures and terms of engagement early in the process. Some members expressed the view that the objectives of the RSCE and the way to obtain them should be established in the procedures. Members agreed that using an interactive website would be helpful to improve the process towards consensus building. Some members highlighted the need for important documents to be translated into French and Spanish.

10. The meeting agreed that, given the diverse expertise available within the Working Group, a first outline or draft of each of the five documents could be prepared as a working document. The draft could then be submitted to the members of the Working group for comments and suggestions prior to publishing it on the website for general comments and contributions.

11. The Co-chairs mentioned other options to prepare the documents, such as commissioning consultants. However, given financial constraints, mainly internal solutions must be found. Regarding i) for example ISEAL could be approached to prepare the study on certification and sustainability initiatives. On ii), the ICCO Secretariat would prepare the manual on best practices in the cocoa value chain with inputs from the industry as discussed earlier already. On iii), a document on traceability and tracking: given the expertise available in the private sector's domain, it was suggested that an expert from the industry should be nominated to coordinate contributions and to prepare the document jointly with the RSCE Co-ordinator. Regarding iv), it was suggested that the document on labour issues should be discussed with inputs from the experts of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana in the Governments and from the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF). As to v), the draft outline of principles for a sustainable cocoa economy should be drafted jointly by the RSCE Working Group and the RSCE Secretariat.

Development of a "Code of Conduct"

12. There were differences regarding the wording and the objectives of the "code of conduct". After discussion, a "code of conduct" seemed the best available format for the document. The delegate from Ecuador mentioned that the RSCE2 currently has no mandate to set "standards". Members agreed that before going into substantive matters of the code of conduct, the rules of the game should first be drawn up. The development of the outline and the draft document has to be a transparent process and the RSCE Working Group will regularly be informed on developments.

Update on Preparations for RSCE2 for the ICCO Council to be held on 28 May 2008

13. The Co-chairs informed members that they would report and update ICCO delegates, observers and those who are interested regarding the preparations for the RSCE2 at 1.00 p.m. on 28 May 2008.

Other Business

14. The meeting agreed to invite Switzerland and Trinidad & Tobago to be members of the RSCE Working Group, in view of their contributions to RSCE2.

15. The Roundtable Coordinator, Mr. Simon Schnetzer took members through the website designed by the ICCO Secretariat and one of the Co-Chairs of the Working Group for the RSCE2, www.roundtablecocoa.org. The web-link and password will be given to members via email for comments to be submitted within a week in order to further enhance the website and its content.

Date and Place of the Next Meeting of the Working Group

16. The next meeting of the Working Group would be held in London on 15 September 2008 at 3.00 p.m.

Closing of the Meeting

17. The Co-chairs thanked members for their active participation and contribution. The meeting was adjourned at 3.30 p.m.

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

Members

Mr. Tony Lass MBE (Co-Chair)
Mrs. Acquah Assouan Amouan (Co-Chair)
Mr. Marcel Vernooij (Netherlands)
Mr. St.-Cyr Djikalou (Spokesman for Producers)
Mr. Hagen Streichert (Spokesman for Consumers)
Mr. Enzo Barattini (European Commission)
Dr. Martin Gilmour (CAOBISCO)
Ms. Isabelle Adam (European Cocoa Association)
Dr. Déborah Salgado Campaña (Ecuador)
Ms. Patricia Maharaj (Trinidad & Tobago)
Ms. Chantal Oltramare (Switzerland)
Mr. Edem Amegashie-Duvon (Ghana)
Mr. Aknan Ehtook (Malaysia)
Ms. Gine Zwart (Oxfam International) via telephone conference call
Mr. Richard Holland (WWF)
Mr. Simon Schnetzer (Roundtable Coordinator)

Regrets

Mr. Aly Toure (Côte d'Ivoire)
Mr. Bill Guyton (World Cocoa Foundation)
(Chief) Dr. Akinwale Ojo (Cocoa Association of Nigeria)
Mr. Pierre Tsimi Enouga (CICC, Cameroon)
Mr. Jacques Steijn (European Warehouse Keepers' Federation)

Observers

Dr. Jan Vingerhoets (Executive Director, ICCO)

In attendance

Mr. Fitz Waldropt (Trinidad & Tobago)
Dr. Azhar Ismail (Malaysia)
Dr. Kelvin Lamin (Malaysia)
Mr. Gahie Mel-Eric (Côte d'Ivoire)
Ms. Kim Tran (Netherlands)

ICCO Secretariat

Dr. Jean-Marc Anga
Mr. Loke Fong Han