Sustainability Projects

Equipoise works on market-related sustainability projects. The European market for cocoa products is developing fast. Requirements in the field of quality and sustainability become more and more stringent. Equipoise helps cocoa exporting countries as well as stakeholders in the cocoa supply chain in these countries to anticipate on these requirements and optimise their market strategies.

Equipoise focusses on five main lines of support to cocoa exporters  in sustainablity projects.

1 | Promoting Market Access

Training and Coaching

Value proposition: As cocoa producers often have difficulties accessing markets and selling their cocoa at remunerative prices, Equipoise offers support for market access through consulting, training, coaching and positioning of the cocoa in designated markets.

Content: consultation on optimal use of export potential, training program preparing or improving capacities of farmer organisations to export their cocoa, coaching of export managers, development of presentation tools (website, brochures, stands, participation in fairs). Training can be given on any location in English or French. Spanish program can be developed on demand.

Projects: 2018 training for cooperatives supplying Tony’s Chocolonely

Cocoa Export Training @ Chocoa

Value proposition: As cocoa producers often have difficulties accessing markets and selling their cocoa at remunerative conditions, Equipoise offers support for market access through dedicated training program and network exposure, using elements of the events that are organised at Chocoa as input.

Content: The four day Amsterdam event Chocoa is used as a back drop for a special edition of the training program.

Projects: Cocoa Export Training at Chocoa 2018, 2019 and 2020 (under development). Group registration by International Trade Center in Geneva, the Dutch Center for the Promotion of Imports in the Hague, individual registrations from Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru.

European Markets Academy @ Chocoa

Value proposition: As cocoa & chocolate producers that are attending Chocoa have little expertise selling on the European Market  at remunerative conditions and have no insights in market developments, Equipoise offers support for market access through a dedicated one day course program and field trips. Chocoa offers the perfect background for a dedicated training program.

Content: Experienced speakers give presentations for cocoa exporters as well as for chocolate exporters. In the afternoon visits to cocoa companies in the Amsterdam region. The EMA is included in the Cocoa Export Training @Chocoa.

Projects: European Markets Academy at Chocoa 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Individual participant from all over the world, on average 100 each edition.

Trade Fair @Chocoa

Value proposition: As cocoa & chocolate producers have difficulties finding buyers to sell their product at remunerative conditions, Equipoise offers a market place where buyers and sellers will meet. Next to cocoa producers and traders, other suppliers to the cocoa value chain are welcomed as exhibitors. Cocoa buyers and cocoa users won’t find any other dedicated cocoa fair offering the opportunity to visit cocoa producers from all over the world under one roof as well as a network of likeminded stakeholders in the cocoa supply chain.

Content: trade fair with over 75 booths of cocoa suppliers and related products and services, special activities to improve the networking opportunities, such as a dedicated app, cocoa auction, cocoa talks.

Projects: Trade Fair at Chocoa 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Individual participants from all over the world, including Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Fiji, Indonesia, Cameroon, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Bolivia, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil and country representations from Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela.

2 | Promoting Strategic Market Development

Support for development of commercial strategies at national, regional or company/cooperative level

Value proposition: Governments in cocoa producing countries and cocoa authorities need to constantly update their strategy to develop a cocoa sector that can export its products to markets worldwide. The development of a national cocoa plan offers an excellent framework. The same is true at regional and sectoral levels. Because of the experience and knowledge of Equipoise staff of developments in fine flavour, specialty and mainstream markets, we can contribute the development of these cocoa policies and the substantiation of strategic choices by government bodies, interprofessional organisations and companies.

Content: giving input into national, regional or sectoral strategic policy development processes based on market experience.

Projects: participation in strategic sessions in Madagascar (2018), strategic discussions with cocoa authorities in Sierra Leone (2018) and Cameroon (2019).

3 | Supply Chain Related Sustainability Projects


Cocoa sustainability is in the centre of attention. Many cocoa and chocolate companies and cocoa consuming countries have committed to (full) sustainability in the coming years. Sustainability initiatives will only have a lasting impact if they are related to supply chains. By solving market imperfections (using equipoises) the success rate of projects will be high. Because of the experience and knowledge of Equipoise staff, we can contribute to solving issues in sustainable cocoa.

Content: consultancy for sustainability projects at strategic level, development of strategies, implementation of policies,

Projects: Cocoa Origins (2017 – 2022), together with IDH and Dutch Ministry for Agriculture, Nature and Food Safety, identification of sustainable cocoa projects in the cooperation between Port of Amsterdam and the ports of San Pedro and Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire (2017, 2019).


Value proposition: Cocoa sustainability is in the centre of attention. Many companies and countries have committed to (full) sustainability. What progress can be seen in the process of improving sustainability in the cocoa value chain? Can issues be brought closer to solutions by benefiting from input from stakeholders in the cocoa supply chain that are participating in a conference?

Content: organisation of debates and conferences at Chocoa or at other events. Development of program, invitation of speakers, reporting.

Projects: Chocoa 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. Content coordination at World Cocoa Conference 2014 (International Cocoa Organisation ICCO), debates at Salon de Chocolat in London and Paris (2017)

4 | Promoting Cocoa & Chocolate Market Demand

Chocoa Chocolate Festival

Value proposition: The Chocoa festival is a valuable event to achieve consumer awareness of sustainable chocolate and develop a consumer market. In partnership with and festival organisers the customer volume and satisfaction can be optimised and the festival is of support to activities for market access and strategic market development.

Content: festival for artisanal (amongst others fine flavour, single origin) and for sustainable chocolate.

Projects: Chocoa 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. Original Chocolate Events 2015, 2016, 2017

Masterclasses @Chocoa

Value proposition: Chefs, chocolatiers and bakers can and want to learn about the potential of cocoa to add value to their products and optimise marketing and communication to their customers. The Masterclass offers an attractive program to learn about chocolate making and processing, a network to join and potential new sources of cocoa beans and other products.
Cocoa product suppliers, such as couverture makers, don’t have many opportunities to reach out to their (potential) customers and tell their story of sustainability and quality. Chocoa offers this platform.

Content: masterclasses explaining the potential of fine cocoa ingredients in fine food

Projects: Chocoa 2013, 2014, 2019, 2020

5 | Cocoa, Chocolate and Coffee Networks

Chocolate Makers’ Forum

Value proposition: Artisanal chocolate makers have a need for a place to meet, exchange ideas, learn and sell chocolate. Chocoa offers and excellent opportunity to create a platform for an annual meet up, benefitting from the extra attraction offered by the presence of cocoa producers, chocolate distributors, service and machinery suppliers and so on. The CMF offers an attractive program, a network and potential new sources of cocoa beans and other inputs for the process of chocolate making.

Content: annual meet up for chocolate makers, presentations, debates, peer tastings, guided tours to trade fair.

Projects: CMF @Chocoa 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. Meet ups can also be organised at other events.

Women in Cocoa and Chocolate

Value proposition: Women play an important, however underestimated role in the cocoa sector. The WINCC Network is organised to make the contribution of women to the cocoa supply chains visible, to create a platform for exchange of ideas, of success stories and of opportunities. A platform for inspiration, learning and networking.

Content: meet ups of women in cocoa and chocolate in the framework of events in the cocoa and chocolate industry.

Projects: Meetings at Chocoa 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, WCF 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, ICCO World Cocoa Conference 2016, 2018, ECA 2017.

European Warehousekeepers Federation

Value proposition: The objective of EWF is to promote the interests of the warehousekeepers and to unify and improve the quality of warehousing services throughout Europe as well as creating a European level playing field in legislation concerning the warehousing sector.

Content: network of warehouses in coffee and cocoa, founded in 2006.

Projects: Equipoise manages the association since 2015.

Please contact Equipoise at for further information, investigations or quotations.