Cocoa and chocolate industry join forces with West African governments for deforestation-free initiative

5cf0b4e0-390e-49fe-b8c4-3f29755eff31articleimage.jpg

13 Sep 2017 --- The world’s leading cocoa and chocolate companies are working with the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to double down on plans to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain.

Over the last six months, the number of companies committed to action has surged from 12 to 35 industry partners, including chocolate makers, cocoa producers and traders, retailers, as well as companies that use cocoa in consumer products ranging from breakfast cereals to after-dinner sweets.    
 
The industry group and the two countries’ governments have worked closely with environmental groups, international development and civil society organizations, and cocoa farmer associations, through a series of intensive face-to-face discussions involving more than 500 people.  

Together, they are developing a blueprint, or Framework for Action, for achieving a deforestation-free cocoa supply chain – and this framework will be presented in November at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Germany. 

Reducing tropical deforestation 
Encompassed under a partnership called the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, the effort draws on lessons learned and good practices from global efforts to reduce tropical deforestation in other commodities and sectors. The work is coordinated by the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), IDH - the Sustainable Trade Initiative, and The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit.
 
Cocoa & Forests Initiative partners are united in their commitment to decisive action to end deforestation, protect forests, and help the farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana who rely on cocoa farming in protected forest areas for their livelihood.  

For the first time, the companies and governments are working together to identify time-bound steps covering:

  • Restrictions on production and sourcing of cocoa in protected forest areas.
  • Protection and restoration of forest areas, including strong forest law enforcement.
  • Boosting agricultural productivity on farms, so that farmers can grow “more cocoa from less land.”
  • Developing alternative livelihoods for farmers who currently depend on cocoa production in protected areas for their income and employment.
  • Improved mapping and data collection of forest and agricultural areas.
  • Greater transparency in the supply chain with the goal of tracking the origin of all cocoa production at the farm level.

According to the World Cocoa Foundation, these actions will be supported by comprehensive monitoring to ensure effective reporting and accountability of government and company commitments.  
 
“We recognize that the current model of cocoa production, which revolves around very small, family-owned farms that too often provide barely enough income to support basic family needs, has been a major driver of forest loss in West Africa,” says WCF President Rick Scobey.  

“Given limited economic opportunities, including lack of infrastructure and education, many poor farmers have encroached into forest areas to grow more cocoa. Lasting solutions to the problem of deforestation must, therefore, focus on poverty reduction, agricultural productivity, and environmental conservation – much of which the chocolate and cocoa industry is addressing through individual company-sponsored activities, as well as through CocoaAction.”

“We are very encouraged by the efforts companies are making towards finalizing a Framework for Action and building a strong public-private partnership,” adds Joost Oorthuizen, executive director of IDH. “Functioning partnerships, like the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, are key to improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, conserving natural habitats, and protecting tropical landscapes for future generations.”  

“IDH is proud to be the driving convener in the development of the Framework for Action, and strives for the voices of all stakeholders to be heard and brought to the table.”  

The Cocoa & Forests Initiative places sustainability, human rights, and collaboration with cocoa-growing communities at the heart of the vision for a deforestation-free supply chain. “Our goal is to protect both people and the planet,” says Scobey. “Efforts to end deforestation must respect the rights of cocoa farmers and their families.  The impact of proposed land-use changes on farmers’ lives must be fully assessed, and we have to minimize adverse social and economic impacts on communities. Farmers who currently grow cocoa in protected areas will need viable alternative sources of income.”

Meanwhile, the two West African governments have welcomed the Cocoa & Forests Initiative.

“Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s leading producer of cocoa, is proud to join with the private sector, environmental organizations, donors and others to formulate a Framework for Action that will correspond to the realities and needs of Ivorian cocoa farmers and their communities,” says Mamadou Fofana, chief advisor to the president of Côte d’Ivoire for issues related to the environment, sustainable development, water and forests.

“Our engagement in this process is another demonstration of Côte d’Ivoire’s commitments that were made when we signed the New York Declaration on Forests in 2014. The Cocoa & Forests Initiative is a very important element in our goal of finalizing a strategy to find solutions to the problem of deforestation.”

Also welcoming the progress made so far through the Cocoa & Forests Initiative is Joseph Aidoo, CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board.  

“This effort shows the strength of public-private partnerships in accelerating efforts to tackle some of our most challenging development problems, including deforestation.” 

“The convening of the private sector alongside government, civil society, and others is helping Ghana to accelerate our efforts to meet the UN REDD+ commitments we made at COP21,” he says. 

The Cocoa & Forests Initiative is coordinated with a wide range of global and local environmental organizations, including the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, Rainforest Alliance, and World Resources Institute. 

The work to date has been supported by several development partners, including the UK government’s Department for International Development, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the Green Commodities Program of the United Nations Development Program.

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Food Ingredients News

Liquid chocolate venture: Cargill invests €12 million in Belgian chocolate facility

20 Jun 2018 --- As the consumer demand for premium, high-quality Belgian chocolate continues to rise, Cargill has invested €12 million (US$13.8 million) in a new liquid chocolate production line at its Mouscron production facility in Belgium. This additional investment brings the total investment of the site up to €47 million (US$54.3 million). The investment increases the company’s capacity to produce milk and dark chocolate and creates up to 10 new jobs in Mouscron, Belgium.

Food Ingredients News

Weekly Digest: Univar becomes a signatory of the UNGC, Mars Wrigley & Kellogg announce leadership shake-up

15 Jun 2018 --- This week in business, Univar became a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative, DuPont Nutrition & Health is working to ensure its products are produced in ways that protect the ecosystems and communities in which the business operates. Mars Wrigley Confectionery has promoted its current Chief Marketing and Customer Officer, Andrew Clarke, to the role of Global President and Kellogg has announced two leadership changes to help drive the company's growth strategy in the North American and European regions. Also this week, Symrise subsidiary Cobell has unveiled an upgraded Beverage Centre of Excellence in Exeter, UK.

Food Ingredients News

Coffee Barometer 2018: Trouble is brewing, future production threatened

14 Jun 2018 --- The future of the coffee sector looks bleak due to a wide variety of complex and systemic social, economic and environmental issues threatening the future of coffee production, according to the Coffee Barometer 2018. The collaboration between of Conservation International, COSA, Hivos, Oxfam-Worldshops and Solidaridad says that price volatility, climate change and recurring outbreaks of pests and diseases threaten a structurally increasing global supply of good quality coffee, while consumption and, therefore, demand is expected to increase.

Food Ingredients News

International Cocoa Initiative: Child labor eradication efforts need to be scaled up to reach 2.1 million by 2020

12 Jun 2018 --- Coinciding with the World Against Child Labor Day (June 12), the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) has launched its 2017 Annual Report detailing how it has reached 188,000 children with child protection measures half-way through its six-year strategy – however, there is much more work to be done. By 2020, the ICI wants to reach the estimated 2.1 million children working in unacceptable forms of child labor within cocoa growing communities in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

Food Ingredients News

Stern-Wywiol Gruppe achieves record sales, drives company ambition for far-sighted growth

07 Jun 2018 --- Hamburg-based food and feed ingredients supplier, Stern-Wywiol Gruppe, increased its sales by €56 million (US$66 million) to €520 million (US$613 million) in 2017. With this figure, the company achieved 12 percent growth last year. The development of the group is mainly due to the expansion of its international presence and intensive applications research, according to Stern-Wywiol Gruppe.

More Articles