What could be more appropriate than to have our cover story focus on Brazilin confectionery companies during the World Cup? OK, perhaps we were a bit lucky with that, having had ABICAB (the Brazilian Cocoa, Chocolate, Peanut and Candies Manufacturers Association) and APEX, (the Brazilian Agency for the Promotion of Exports and Investments Acts) invite us to visit Sweet Brazil.

But luck and coincidence do play a role in everyday life, as they do in the World Cup. Hard work, perseverance and engagement, nonetheless, remain the building blocks in doing anything successfully. Talent and expertise round out this triangle of achievement.

Bernie Pacyniak

Fortunately, Crystal Lindell, Candy Industry Magazine’s managing editor was able to travel to Brazil and experience all the country and its confectioners have to offer. And as her coverage of Embaré, Santa Helena and a Bahian cocoa farmer attests, she certainly scored.

I’d like to point out another winning effort that happened last month, the World Cocoa Foundation’s CocoaAction initiative. Senior executives from 12 of the world’s largest chocolate and cocoa companies signed a joint agreement with Ghana as part of an unprecedented strategy to work toward making cocoa farming in the country sustainable. They are also working with the government of Côte d’Ivoire.

The plan, known as CocoaAction, calls for building a rejuvenated and economically viable cocoa sector through increased cooperation between industry members and the Ghanaian government.

Under the auspices of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), which will act as the convener for the group and facilitate the implementation of the industry-wide strategy, CocoaAction seeks to build a rejuvenated and economically viable cocoa sector for at least 300,000 cocoa farmers — 200,000 in Côte d’Ivoire and 100,000 in Ghana — and the communities where they live by 2020.

Clearly, by coordinating the efforts of these major players in the cocoa and chocolate sector, the industry can accelerate its successes in the field, improving general conditions of the farmers while simultaneously enabling better cocoa yields and quality.

Kudos to all the participants.

As Terence O’Day, senior v.p. and chief supply chain officer at Hershey, points out, a reliable, sustainable supply of ethically grown cocoa is vital to Hershey and the global chocolate and cocoa industry.

“[It] is the best way to ensure consumers will enjoy delicious, affordable and sustainable cocoa,” he explains. “It’s a major breakthrough for key members of the industry to come together and work as a group to solve the challenges facing cocoa farming in West Africa and achieve our mutual sustainability objectives.”  

And, Andrew Harner, Mars’ global cocoa v.p., stresses that the company is happy to join its industry colleagues in supporting the effort. 

“We believe this sector-wide alignment of objectives, commitment of resources, and sharing of best practices is exactly the type of transformative initiative the sector requires,” he says.

It’s great to see these two American rivals working together to foster cocoa sustainability. I’m also encouraged to see Fair Trade USA and UTZ Certified are working together, recently announcing a cooperative agreement that would simplify farmers receiving certification from both organizations. It’s the first step toward establishing a universal certification standard for cocoa.

Finally, it’s time to let up on England’s Wayne Rooney.  He’s still a good soccer player even if that was the worst corner kick in World Cup history.