Date: February 23rd, 2018
Time: 9.00 – 18.30h
Location: Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam


Get Chocoa Discounts if you fly with KLM/Air France:
Book here and use Event ID: 28830AF

chocoa conference

Participate in a debate on the edge of innovation and sustainability together with stakeholders from all over the world representing the entire cocoa chain! What are the new trends and developments for ensuring a sustainable cocoa supply chain?
You will find the conference programme of 2017 below. Stay updated on the latest developments by sending us a note with your contact details here by mail.

The Chocoa Conference provides a platform for discussion on sustainability and quality and a direct connection to the market through the Chocoa Trade Fair, allowing the participants to meet cocoa producers from all over the world. You can also join us for the Amsterdam Cocoa Dinner ‘le Grand Diner du Chocolat’ on 22nd of February 2018, providing you great networking opportunities and a delicious cocoa and chocolate-themed menu in Hilton Amsterdam. Chocoa 2018 will host 150 stands and 9.000 visitors during all Chocoa events. See last editions full Chocoa programme here.

conference programme

Chocoa 2017 Sustainable cocoa: integrity and transparency

Friday February 24

Moderated by Marieke Eyskoot (Sustainable Fashion Expert)

Without integrity and transparency, sustainable cocoa production and sustainable chocolate consumption will never be achieved. This year’s Chocoa Conference aims to facilitate an open debate on both virtues, creating  an environment that provides space for different opinions  as well as a lively exchange of views. The supply chain is in need of an important make over: large investments are needed, both public and private. This can only work if stakeholders in the chain understand each other’s roles and motivations and if the interdependency between partners is based on mutual trust.

09:00     Registration
09:30    Opening
09.45     Sense of urgency in the environmental pillar of sustainability
In general in sustainability programs and events the emphasis lies on productivity and community development. Meanwhile the pressure on the natural environment for cocoa production is increasing. In this session speakers will give us more insights in the sustainability of current cocoa practices. How do farmers, governments and industries cope with the risks involved in climate change? What about the sense of urgency? Who is driving the environmental agenda?


  • Nicko Debenham (Vice President and Head of Sustainability at Barry Callebaut, Managing Director of Biolands Group and Chairman of Cocoa Horizons Foundation)


  • Joyce Brandão (Programme Manager and Landscape Specialist at Solidaridad Brazil)
  • Silke Elwers (Senior Consultant Agroforestry and Cacao at Forest Finest)
  • Paul Hadley (Professor in Environmental Physiology of Cocoa at Reading University)

11:00     Journalist panel:
Journalists play an important role in promoting transparency in the cocoa value chain and challenging public and private sector’s integrity. However if they have their own agenda or don’t check well on credibility and integrity of their sources, they can also contribute to misinformation of the audience. In this panel, we ask journalists who are active in cocoa related topics, how they guarantee their credibility, what they consider to be their role in promoting integrity and transparency, and the potential challenges involved.

  • Oliver Nieburg (Head of Editorial Food Verticals at Confectionery News),
  • Brian O’Keefe (International Editor and an Assistant Managing Editor at Fortune Magazine)

11.30 Cocoa as catalyst for post-disaster development
Agriculture is the most important employment sector of many developing countries.  In these countries, millions of farmers rely on their produce for their livelihoods. Agriculture in general and cocoa in particular, could be the key for development, especially in post-disaster and post-conflict areas. This panel will focus on the potential of cocoa as a catalyst for development in countries that have recently experienced natural or human disasters.


  • Philipp Kauffmann (Founder of Original Beans)
  • Albert Tucker (Cooperative Governance & Business Advisor at Twin UK in Sierra Leone)
  • Zach Lea (Chief of the Haiti Project at Catholic Relief Services) 

12:15     Lunch break

14:00     Progress in sustainable cocoa:
Both private and public actors have committed to sustainable cocoa production and chocolate consumption. It is very difficult for consumers and other stakeholders to understand whether actors that committed to sustainable practices are on track and whether the commitment is spread wide enough to have the desired impact on sustainable cocoa production. Do companies that don’t commit have a competitive advantage? How can we demand from producing countries to commit to sustainable cocoa when most consuming countries don’t commit themselves? Is third party certification the only and right way to guarantee sustainability?


Moderated by: Anna Laven (Senior Advisor at the Royal Tropical Institute).


  • Filip Buggenhout (Managing Director Cocoa at Cargill)
  • Jorge Redmond (CEO of El Rey Chocolates Venezuela)


  • Antonie Fountain (Managing Director at Voice Network)
  • Victorine Kouaglou (President Koado-due, women’s cooperative from Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Joost Gorter (Senior Consultant at NewForesight)
  • Klaas Brouwer (Senior consultant at KPMG)

15:20     Cocoa break

16:00     Supply chain integrity
For sustainability in the cocoa sector to mature, accountability of both the private and public sector is key. But why is it so difficult to hold others accountable if their actions harm producers, the sector and the environment? How can we create a political and business climate that allows for open discussion? Are the institutions that are currently in place in the sector able to challenge stakeholders, or are bad practices reinforced? In this session we discuss accountability to contribute to a better understanding of the systemic nature of the problems in the cocoa sector and look whether we can learn from other markets and sectors on how they dealt with these kind of challenges.


Moderated by: Jack Steijn

  • Lilianne Ploumen (Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation)
  • Cathy Pieters (Program Director Cocoa Life at Mondelez)
  • Paul Macek (Vice President Programmes at World Cocoa Foundation),


  • Nick Weatherill (Executive Director at International Cocoa Initiative)
  • Stephen Ashia (Manager at ABOCFA Cooperative Ghana)
  • Anna Laven (Senior Consultant Royal Tropical Institute).

17:30     Conclusions

17:45     Drinks

The Chocoa Conference is organised in collaboration with the Royal Tropical Institute and will take place in the Beurs van Berlage. This historical building, located in the heart of Amsterdam, was originally used as a commodity exchange center.



Chocoa conference

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