Chocolate factories and cocoa traders worldwide have become aware of the need to invest in making the cocoa sector more sustainable. Due to population growth, changing diets in emerging economies and the deterioration of the cocoa production systems, companies fear not to be able to source sufficient cocoa within the years to come.
Investments and support to cocoa producers worldwide – most of them being smallholder farmers – by these companies has grown enormously. Also Vredeseilanden is investing in making the cocoa sector more sustainable through programs in Indonesia with local cocoa farmer organisations, local NGO and two major companies: Mars (chocolate producer) and Armajaro (cocoa trader).
Vredeseilanden participated in the Choconomics conference to hear what other actors are doing within this sector and to present our own experiences. The Conference on the Economics and Politics of Chocolate is the first ever social science conference on topics related to chocolate. It provided an excellent setting to stimulate discussions and an ideal platform to present work related to the multifaceted aspects of chocolate. The conference took place from 16th to 18th of September 2012 in Leuven, Belgium and was hosted by LICOS, Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, Catholic University Leuven.