Ahead of the must-attend virtual event Confectionery Live happening this month, 21-22 February, we are pleased to announce our next speaker; Thea Parson, Forest & Climate Associate at Mighty Earth.
Thea is the Forests & Climate Associate at Mighty Earth, focused on campaigns transforming forest industries in West Africa and South East Asia. Thea’s work follows the cocoa, cashew and rubber sectors from farmers to consumers, through supply chain research and investigations, to uncover and address environmental and human rights violations in these industries, and push industry stakeholders to change.
Thea previously worked for consumer advocacy organisation, Consumers International, and has also worked on migrants’ rights campaigns at Climate Refugees and Conversations Over Borders, defending the rights of migrants, asylum seekers and displaced people across the world. Thea completed her Masters in Migration and Global Development from the University of Sussex, and has an undergraduate degree in French and History from the University of Leeds, with a year spent studying at Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France.
The importance of transparency in the cocoa supply chain was underscored by the announcement of the EUDR regulation, set to come into force at the end of this year – which outlines that product sold to consumers within the EU, including cocoa, must not be linked to deforestation. Understanding the impacts of this regulation and how to be compliant has become crucial ahead of it coming into force.
In her session at this year’s Confectionery Live, Thea will delve into the most pressing challenges in the sector and unpacks the tools needed to build a fairer and more sustainable cocoa industry. The chocolate industry has for years sourced much of its cocoa from the destruction of forests across the world, particularly in West Africa where Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have lost around 94% and 80% of forest cover respectively in the past 60 years. At the same time, smallholder cocoa producers, the bedrock of the industry, are poorly remunerated for their work.
Whilst recent collaboration between producers, industry actors, government and civil society has brought about some progress towards addressing the cocoa sector’s biggest issues, there is still a lot to be done to end deforestation and close the living income gap. With the arrival of new industry regulation, such as the European Union Deforestation Regulation – how can we put an end to cocoa-driven deforestation whilst ensuring smallholder cocoa farmers are supported in this transition?
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To make sure you don’t miss out on Thea’s session, register here.
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