Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Bringing about change: How the CSDD is transforming the global coffee and cocoa supply chain

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Thomas Hellmuth Sander

4 min read·5 Reads
Bringing about change: How the CSDD is transforming the global coffee and cocoa supply chain

Transforming the coffee and cocoa industries through rigorous sustainability and human rights standards is essential. The CSDD paves the way for transparency, ethical practices, and environmental stewardship, ultimately improving lives and protecting our planet.

Dear reader,

In the world of logistics and consulting, there is a new piece of the puzzle every day. Each piece of that puzzle, from the smallest coffee bean to the finest cocoa bean, plays a critical role in the bigger picture of global trade and sustainability. As someone who is passionate about solving these complex challenges, I find the recently introduced Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDD) both a fascinating and transformative development for the coffee and cocoa industry.

Understanding the CSDD

The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive is a bold legislative step aimed at improving corporate responsibility and sustainability. It requires companies to rigorously audit their supply chains to ensure that they adhere to strict environmental and human rights standards. For industries that are closely intertwined with global agriculture, such as coffee and cocoa, this directive represents a monumental shift towards greater transparency and accountability.

The link between coffee and cocoa

Coffee and cocoa are not just commodities, they are the lifeblood of millions of farmers around the world, from the lush plantations of Central America to the verdant landscapes of West Africa. However, these industries have long been plagued by problems such as child labor, deforestation and inadequate wages. The CSDD aims to tackle these issues head on by holding companies accountable for their entire supply chain from plantation to supermarket shelf.

Unpacking the impact

The implementation of the CSDD will undoubtedly change the way coffee and cocoa companies operate. Here's how:

1. increased transparency

One of the most important changes brought about by the CSDD is the obligation for companies to provide detailed reports on their supply chain practices. This means that every step, from cultivation methods to working conditions, will be scrutinized. As a logistician, I see this as an opportunity for companies to build stronger, more transparent relationships with their suppliers and customers. When consumers can trace their coffee or chocolate bar back to a sustainable source, trust is built and brand loyalty is strengthened.

2. improved working conditions

The directive places a strong emphasis on human rights. Companies must ensure that their suppliers comply with fair labor practices and provide safe working conditions and fair wages. This is a crucial step forward for farmers and workers in developing countries who are often exploited. By enforcing these standards, the CSDD helps to improve the quality of life of those at the very beginning of the supply chain.

3. environmental sustainability

Sustainability is not just a buzzword, it is a necessity. The CSDD requires companies to adopt environmentally friendly practices, reduce their carbon footprint and prevent deforestation. For the coffee and cocoa industry, this could mean adopting agroforestry practices that promote biodiversity and sustainable land use. In my work, I have seen first-hand how these practices not only benefit the environment, but also improve crop yields and quality, benefiting both the planet and the producers.

The way forward

While the CSDD sets the bar high, it also offers exciting opportunities for innovation and improvement. Companies will need to invest in technology and partnerships to effectively monitor and manage their supply chains. This could include blockchain technology for traceability or working with non-governmental organizations to ensure compliance with human rights standards.

As a consultant, I am particularly excited about the potential for developing new strategies and solutions that align with the requirements of the CSDD. It's about finding the perfect balance between operational efficiency and sustainability and ensuring that every cup of coffee and every bite of chocolate contributes to a better world.


The CSDD is more than just a guideline; it is a call to action. It calls on the coffee and cocoa industry to rise to the challenge and commit to transparency, fairness and sustainability. Companies that rise to the challenge can expect to reap significant benefits, from a better brand image to a more resilient and ethical supply chain.

In the logistics and consulting industry, it is our job to guide these companies through this transition, helping them to navigate the complexities of CSDD and seize the opportunities it presents. Together, we can bring about a future that is not only profitable, but also sustainable and equitable, one bean and one pod at a time.


Thomas Hellmuth-Sander

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