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Green Business

Cocoa under the Deforestation Regulation

Are you part of the cocoa supply chain? Do you place cocoa or cocoa products on the EU market or export them from the EU? See the steps to follow to ensure that you comply with the EU Deforestation Regulation. It starts to apply from 30 December 2024

Who needs to comply with the new rules?

How to comply with the new rules?

Due diligence: 3 steps to follow

Collecting geolocation and documentation

1. Collect information

Collect information, documents and data showing that the product is deforestation-free and legal, such as geolocation coordinates, quantity, country of production, etc

Gauge

2. Risk assessment

Assess whether there is a risk the product does not comply with the rules

Umbrella

3. Risk mitigation

Adopt risk mitigation procedures and measures if there is a risk that the product does not comply with the rules.

What actions need to be taken at each stage of the supply chain?

Image of the day - November 2023
1 - Growing cocoa beans

Cocoa must be produced legally and be deforestation-free. Geolocation data of the area of production must be collected.

Cocoa that was produced illegally, on land deforested after 31 December 2020 or that is not traceable, does not comply with the rules and cannot be placed on the EU market. Compliant cocoa must be stored separately from cocoa of unknown origin or incompliant.

Cocoa trading
2 - Trading and shipping cocoa beans

Deforestation-free and legal cocoa beans must be kept separate from other cocoa beans while being traded and shipped. Mixing compliant and non-compliant commodities or commodities of unknown origin is not allowed. In such cases, the whole shipment would be non-compliant and cannot be placed on the EU market.

Visit of Adina Vălean, European Commissioner, to The Netherlands
3 - Importing cocoa beans

Before placing a product on the EU market, the importer must perform due diligence.

The importer must also submit a Due Diligence Statement and will receive a reference number (and security token), which must be reported in the customs declaration for import.

Only compliant products may be placed on the EU market. The operator may place the cocoa on the EU market when it has been released for import by the customs authorities.

Visit of Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, to Ghana
4 - Producing cocoa products

Large manufacturers of cocoa in the EU (e.g. to produce chocolate) must check that due diligence has been exercised upstream in the supply chain.

Large producers must check the Due Diligence Statement (DDS) of the cocoa importer and submit their own DDS for their products, using the reference number of the upstream DDS. The operator then receives a new DDS reference number and security token.

Shopping
5 - Selling or exporting cocoa products

Before selling the cocoa product on the EU market, large retailers must check that due diligence has been exercised upstream in the supply chain.

The retailer must check the DDS upstream in the supply chain and submit their own DDS based on all previous reference numbers. The trader then receives a new DDS reference number and security token.

Small companies (SMEs) do not need to check or submit due diligence statements for products that have been subject to due diligence further up the supply chain. 

The Sustainable Cocoa Initiative, launched in 2020, supplements the EU Deforestation Regulation by sharing its objective of tackling deforestation and by addressing technical issues for instance linked to traceability.