The Future of Chocolate

The Belgian Embassy discusses the cocoa industry

September 29th, 2022
Maria Asklund, News from Berlin
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In the twenty-first century, sustainability is one of the most important aspects of diplomacy. Even within cultural diplomacy, this is a way of examining the world that is now emphasized more and more.

On the evening of the 26th of September, the Belgian Embassy in Berlin hosted an event focused on the cocoa industry. The theme was ‘Business & Human Rights’, and the topic of discussion was what role this theme plays today and in the future of the cocoa sector. This idea took place within the European Sustainable Development Week, spanning from the 20th until the 26th of September.

The event was started with words of the embassy counsellor Evie Ruymbeke. Following this was a film screening of "Chocolate's Heart of Darkness" (2019) by director Paul Moreira. The film investigates child exploitation on cocoa plantations, focusing on The Ivory Coast. Director Moreira travels deep into the country where he finds child slaves, showing the dark side of the multi-billion-euro industry.

In this sense, some leading principles for economy and human rights were presented. Important words are sustainability, human dignity, and development. The question is how this can be realized within the cocoa industry, that we so much associate with Belgium and their traditional sweets.

On the occasion, several German and Belgian specialists were present. These included the Alexia Herwig from Beyond Chocolate, Lisa Kirfel-Rühle from the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung) and Evelyn Bahn from the INKOTA-network.

Thus, we see how diplomacy, economics and cinema meet in this highly important discussion. It is also an international and cross-cultural discussion, linking Belgium to countries across the globe where cocoa is produced. By inviting experts to this discussion, the Belgian Embassy underlines the importance of this discourse.


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