COPENHAGEN – During the opening of its 26th Partnership Meeting & Cocoa Sustainability Trade Fair, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) announced a donation of $600,000 to fight Ebola in West Africa. The money was solicited from WCF member companies in the chocolate and cocoa industry. One hundred percent of the funds raised will go to support Ebola care and prevention efforts being carried out in West Africa by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Caritas.
“The spread of Ebola is a serious concern to WCF and our member companies, given our deep and longstanding support for the well-being of West African cocoa-growing communities. This member-led contribution reflects an ongoing strong commitment by our industry to health and humanitarian relief efforts during international crises,” said Bill Guyton, president, World Cocoa Foundation. “We recognize that many rural communities in West Africa, including those where cocoa is grown, need support to find sustainable solutions to economic and social problems that may hinder their ability to tackle threats such as Ebola.”
Guyton continued, “WCF will activate our existing networks in West Africa to educate rural communities about preventive measures that they can take to avoid infection. We also believe that the best way to help West African cocoa farmers and their communities is to continue to buy the cocoa that they grow.”
Seventy percent of the world’s cocoa supply originates in West Africa, though the region’s largest producers of the commodity, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, have thus far not experienced an outbreak of the Ebola virus.
The WCF effort was spearheaded by a $100,000 initial contribution by the Transmar Group. Other contributing members to date include ADM; Australian Industry Group (Whittaker’s); Blommer Chocolate Company; Carletti; Chocolove; Cococo Chocolatiers Inc.; Confiseur Laederach Group; Ghirardelli Chocolate; Guittard Chocolate; Fazer; Ferrero; Indcresa; Manufacturing Confectioner; Mars, Incorporated; Mitsubishi; Mondelēz International Foundation; Nestlé; Noble Resources; Olam; Purdy’s Chocolatier; R.M. Palmer; Sucres et Denrées; The Hershey Company; Toms Group; and World’s Finest Chocolate.
The donation will support the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent’s regional prevention and treatment programs, as well as work being done by Caritas to widely share prevention messaging, provide general health services, and deliver social and economic support to those living with or affected by Ebola.
“More than 4,000 Red Cross volunteers and 150 international staff have been on the front-lines of the Ebola crisis, educating people to prevent infections, treating those that have fallen ill, providing safe and dignified burials for those who have succumbed to the outbreak, and so much more,” said Joelle Tanguy, Under-Secretary General, Humanitarian Values and Diplomacy, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “It will take even more to stall Ebola and time is of the essence. Thanks to the generous World Cocoa Foundation contribution, we will be able to meaningfully accelerate progress against the deadly virus.”
According to Jann Sjursen, Secretary General of Caritas Denmark, “Ebola is killing people every day in West Africa. Action is needed now to stop the spread of the disease, save lives and support people living with and affected by the Ebola Virus. The initiative of WCF to support Caritas and the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is a concrete example of industrial corporate social responsibility for the benefit of those who daily battling with the devastating effects of the Ebola virus.”
ABOUT WORLD COCOA FOUNDATION – WCF is an international membership foundation of more than 115 companies that promotes a sustainable cocoa economy by providing cocoa farmers with the tools they need to grow more and better cocoa, market it successfully, and make greater profits. WCF’s membership includes cocoa and chocolate manufacturers, processors, supply chain managers, and other companies worldwide, representing more than 80 percent of the global cocoa market. For more information, visit www.worldcocoa.org.