Sunbeth Global Concepts acknowledges the need for resolute commitments to sustainability and elevating its traceability system to effect significant transformation within the cocoa export sector, all while aligning with EU regulations. Consequently, the company is unveiling strategies to promote these endeavors throughout every facet of its operations and collaborations.
Towards this end, Sunbeth Global Concepts recently hosted a stakeholders forum themed Navigating EU Due Diligence: SUNBETH’s Journey to Responsible Sourcing Excellence. The aim of the conference was to get the various stakeholders, i.e., the Local buying agents, brokers, and all operatives involved in cocoa procurement, acquainted with the EU due diligence requirements as well as their roles in ensuring raw cocoa beans are traceable and sourced sustainably.
The event gave the key stakeholders opportunities to get answers to all their questions regarding the new EU traceability due diligence Policy and its profound implications for the Nigerian cocoa industry. It’s worth noting that the policy stands as a resolute response to pressing global issues such as forced labour, the worst forms of child labour, deforestation, land tenure, and poverty proliferation in cocoa producing communities.
The forum deliberation touched on the need for more robust traceability systems involving all actors within the supply chain. These systems, when integrated into the cocoa sourcing and marketing mechanisms, are expected to ensure a seamless chain of custody from the farm to the final consumers.
Stakeholders and members of SGCL Team During the Forum
The general discussion was broken down into key conversations revolving around the following points.
The importance of traceability and the responsibility of all cocoa supply chain stakeholders in achieving it.
This aspect of the conversation examined the responsibility of every party involved in the transfer of the cocoa from the farmers up to the EU market, i.e., the brokers, LBAs, and exporters (SGCL), as well as the government to uphold the requirements of the EU’s policy on traceability.
It is the brokers’ responsibility to ensure they maintain accurate records of all the cocoa they procure from their points of origin (Farms) to the next intermediary (LBAs). This requires keeping close tabs on all the farmers they buy from and having all important information about each of their farmers documented.
LBAs must assist brokers in their assignments, exerting their local influence to rally and secure the cooperation of all the farmers supplying them cocoa. The goal is to ensure the farmers stay compliant with EU traceability policies.
In addition, LBAs must align with exporters (SGCL) to ensure all cocoa going to the international market are fully accounted for with regards to their sources, providing accurate and adequate information for the exporters to draft correct due diligence reports.
The exporters (SGCL) are the primary contact with the EU market, and they must put their resources including finances, influence, and power, to ensure the players at the lower levels of the supply chain comply with all traceability requirements. They’re also responsible for compiling the traceability due diligence document for all their exports and producing it when bringing their goods into the EU market.
Admittedly, robust traceability systems will only be efficient if the producing country governments significantly strengthen sector policies and support a cooperative approach with private and civil society actors from the cocoa sector, both on the supply and demand sides.
As such, the government also has a responsibility to create and enforce policies that foster traceability considerations. They must also provide supports for the effort of exporters such as Sunbeth Global Concepts in ensuring traceability compliance in the cocoa supply chain.
SGCL’s Procurement Head, Abel Ogunleye Addressing the Participants
The forum also delved into a comprehensive exploration of the advantages associated with complying with EU traceability policies. Participants discussed how such compliance can not only enhance supply chain transparency but also bolster consumer trust, align with ethical sourcing practices, and ensure legal adherence, positioning companies favorably in the global market. It was acknowledged that embracing traceability measures can ultimately drive sustainability and responsible sourcing, further underlining their significance within the industry.
Primarily, traceability measures were meant to ensure that all agricultural export goods are produced with the least possible negative effect on the physical and social environment. In addition, the policy aims to ensure farmers receive adequate compensation for their outputs and efforts.
That’s why traceability policies particularly frown on degrading practices such as deforestation, the worst form of child labour, and forced labour. By eliminating these undesirables, traceability measures foster more sustainable production practices and a growth-oriented cocoa industry.
But in addition to these fundamental advantages, traceability compliance guarantees other perks, including financial rewards and incentives for farmers, brokers, and LBAs. Cocoa-producing communities will also enjoy increased CSR benefits as a result.
Speaking of CSR. Sunbeth Global Concepts also reiterated its commitment to serving and giving back to the local communities. It unveiled plans for several remarkable CSR initiatives with promises of increasing its impact in the rural communities. The projects include; school renovations, boreholes for portable clean water, payment of students WAEC & JAMB examinations, support for educational materials and stores for subsidized fertilizers starting from 3 zones.
SGCL has shown a vested interest in eradicating Child labour and improving primary education access in rural communities. It intends to achieve this by making amenities such as modern academic structures available in local areas where they’re lacking. This initiative will encourage parents and guardians to send their wards to school instead of engaging them in laborious tasks elsewhere.
In essence, Sunbeth Global Concepts is dedicated to adhering to EU Due Diligence standards. This commitment involves taking proactive measures to prevent, alleviate, and rectify any negative impacts on human rights and the environment stemming from its involvement in the Nigerian Cocoa supply chain. The recent stakeholders’ forum signifies the company’s unwavering determination to meet the stringent criteria of EU traceability regulations and sustainability standards. Following the forum’s outcomes, the company is now poised to be fully engaged in implementing traceability measures comprehensively throughout all stages of our value chain.