ECA Working Groups & Task Forces

 

The ECA Working Groups (WGs) and Task Forces (TFs) are composed of ECA Members who contribute with their high expertise in delivering strong and clear positions that benefit the cocoa industry.

The ECA Food Safety Working Group
The ECA Food Safety Working Group deals with current and emerging issues and monitors regulatory developments mainly concerning contaminants, pesticides and other matters of common interest. WG members also contribute to scientifically reliable statements (for internal use or for customers) and position papers addressed to the EU institutions. Within the WG, several Task Forces focus on specific issues.
The Joint ECA-CAOBISCO Food Safety Working Group
The Joint ECA-CAOBISCO Food Safety Working Group is composed of experts from the two associations, and they meet twice a year. Technical in nature, this WG monitors regulatory developments connected to food safety and its activities are complementary to those of the ECA WG on Food Safety, i.e. the discussion on arising threats and concerns and the development of Joint strategies and industry positions to be addressed to national, European and international authorities. This WG collaborates with ICCO, research institutes at EU and cocoa-producing country levels, and plant protection products manufacturers.
The Joint ECA-PFP (Primary Food Processors) Food Safety Working Group
The Joint ECA-PFP (Primary Food Processors) Food Safety Working Group is composed of experts from the two associations, and they meet twice a year. The topics closely monitored by this WG are pesticides, heavy metals, mineral oils, and new breeding techniques.
The Joint ECA-CAOBISCO Quality & Productivity (Q&P) Working Group
The Joint ECA-CAOBISCO Quality & Productivity (Q&P) Working Group is composed of experts from the two associations, and they meet twice a year. This WG tackles issues, such as breeding variety, off-flavours, moisture, free fatty acids mitigation, soil fertility, pest and disease management, and planting material.
The ECA Trade Working Group
The ECA Trade Working Group monitors developments regarding the EU trade policy, notably negotiations for Free Trade Agreements and Economic Partnership Agreements, preferential tariff systems (Generalised System of Preferences), Rules of Origin, and WTO-specific dossiers. The WG also addresses non-tariff barriers (e.g. SPS issues and administrative requirements).
The Joint ECA-PFP (Primary Food Processors) Trade Working Group
The Joint ECA-PFP (Primary Food Processors) Trade Working Group is composed of experts from the two associations and reports on developments regarding the EU trade policy, notably on the Free Trade Agreements and Economic Partnership Agreements.
The ECA Logistics Task Force
The ECA Logistics Task Force follows the progress of regulatory developments concerning Shipping and Warehousing, Port authorities, the EU initiatives on the decarbonization of the shipping industry and the IMO CO2 emissions reduction target.
The ECA Sustainability Working Group
The ECA Sustainability Working Group monitors developments linked to sustainable cocoa which include: deforestation, labour-related matters in cocoa farming and practices – notably related to child labour – Due Diligence Regulation, and certifications schemes, in particular the ISO 34101/CEN Standard on Sustainable and Traceable cocoa as well as the new African Regional cocoa sustainability standard.
The ECA Standards/Certifications Working Group
The ECA Standards/Certifications Working Group is actively engaged in the development of the ISO 34101/ CEN Standard on Sustainable and Traceable cocoa, which aims to provide an incentive for farmers to produce cocoa in a sustainable way, while aligning the procedures and criteria of the leading sustainability initiatives to establish a single international standard of reference for future initiatives on cocoa sustainability.
The ECA Environment Working Group
The ECA Environment Working Group reports on developments regarding the EU climate and environmental policy, notably the EU Green Deal, Farm to Fork Strategy, Circular Economy Action Plan, Carbon Tax, Food Waste and Energy Efficiency.
The Joint ECA-PFP (Primary Food Processors) Environment Working Group
The Joint ECA-PFP (Primary Food Processors) Environment Working Group is composed of experts from the two associations and follows the developments on food waste, the water framework directive and climate change.
The ECA Labelling Task Force
The ECA Labelling Task Force has been active since 2014. The TF deals with voluntary vs. mandatory labelling of food products and monitors developments related to the EU regulatory measures which focus on reflecting consumers’ concerns regarding not only the origin and the quality of food, but also methods of production, labour conditions as well as climate/environmental related concerns (EU Green Deal and the carbon footprint).
The Joint Research Fund
The Joint Research Fund: ECA, CAOBISCO, and FCC (Federation of Cocoa Commerce) joined forces in 2013 for setting up this Research Fund, which is currently administered by ECA. The three associations are committed to working towards more sustainable cocoa whereby cocoa is safe for consumer consumption, complies with manufacturers’ quality requirements and meets the growing demand. Given deteriorating yields and quality levels in several countries, the need to rehabilitate existing cocoa producing land (through planting material, fertilizers), and growing consumer interest in cocoa sustainability, the review of sustainable industry needs in terms of quality and productivity is a key priority.

On average, three projects (that typically run over a two to five year time-span) are administered and managed via the Research Fund at the same time.

Current and past projects include:

  • Cocoa Bean Quality Requirements Guide (available here in English, French and Spanish) – completed
  • Detection of Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus (CSSV) – completed
  • Research on the improvement of yield efficiency and resilience to climate change through better use of cocoa genetic resources (within the Collaborative Framework of Cacao Evaluation – CFCE): phase 1 completed – phase 2 underway
  • Research on occurrence and mitigation of cadmium in cocoa: phase 1 completed – phase 2 underway
  • Research on main sources of MOH contamination and entry points into the cocoa supply chain – underway
  • To understand the genetic basis of resistance to VSD in cacao and to develop high-throughput DNA tools to permit Marker Assisted Selection – underway