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Belgium commits to 100% sustainable chocolate by 2025
Belgian chocolate producers and supermarkets have signed a charter, committing to make the industry 100% sustainable by 2025.
The new deal, called Beyond Chocolate, aims to guarantee a living income for all cocoa farmers, eliminate child labour and prevent deforestation in Ghana and Ivory Coast, the two biggest producers of cocoa beans.
The signatories include eight major chocolate producers, NGOs including the Rainforest Alliance, Oxfam and the WWF, plus several universities, trade unions, investors, and supermarket groups Lidl, Aldi, Colruyt, Delhaize and Carrefour.
"At home and abroad, Belgian chocolate has a very strong reputation," said Alexander De Croo, minister for development cooperation. "By paying even more attention to sustainability, we make our chocolate taste even better."
The charter was signed on Wednesday in Antwerp, where 300,000 tonnes of cocoa beans are imported each year.
Belgium is the world's second biggest chocolate exporter behind Germany, selling 600,000 tonnes of chocolate per year to other EU countries, the US and Japan.
The Belgian chocolate industry counts about 500 companies, from large multinationals to artisan chocolatiers, and turns over €5 billion a year.