A broad concept that refers to the fulfillment of the present generation, without jeopardizing future generations. Sustainability involves efforts to strike a balance between social inclusion, environmental stewardship, and economic development.
The most recognized manifestation of sustainability is enshrined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are 17 broad global goals that cover all relevant issues underpinning the vision of a sustainable world, economy, and global ecosystem.
The SDGs emphasize synergy between the economic, environmental, and social spheres, and “recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.” (SDG reference)
The relevance to cocoa cultivation and the trade and manufacturing of chocolate is clear and multifaceted. The need to produce cocoa in a manner that sustains the natural ecosystem around cocoa farms is obvious, particularly with threats of declining soil fertility and increased climatic stress from climate change.
Sustainability also refers to the need to sustain the livelihoods of farming families, including receiving fair remuneration for their labor and earning above the costs of sustainable production.
More broadly, cocoa farmers need to have opportunities for long-term relationships with value chain partners that operate transparently, on the basis of trust and mutual risk sharing.
Finally, no value chain or farming system can be sustainable without accountable, stable, and proactive public actors – governments that can provide the enabling environment for sustainable agriculture and trade.
Próximamente versión en español
Entry added: December 12, 2022
Verified on: September 14, 2023
Stephanie Daniels, Senior Program Director, Sustainable Food Lab
Brundtland Report: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, United Nations, 1987 (accessed December 14, 2022)
Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (accessed December 14, 2022)
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