12/11/2018 – News / Agriculture / Environment / Sustainability / Deforestation / Cocoa / Global
World’s top cocoa-producing countries and firms show progress on ending deforestation in the sector
Senior government representatives from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, alongside international business leaders, gathered this week to discusss sustainable practice in the cocoa industry and key environmental issues. The Prince of Wales, who has been campaigning for a number of years to end the destruction of rainforests, attended the event in Accra, Ghana.
In March 2017, the Prince convened a meeting in London, with the World Cocoa Foundation and IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative, that included the world's leading chocolate and cocoa companies. During the London meeting, the companies launched a statement of intent to end the deforestation of rainforests in their supply chain. Ministers and senior government representatives of Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom also attended.
Thereafter, in November last year, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, the top cocoa-producing countries of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, and the world’s leading chocolate and cocoa companies, signed a landmark agreement – the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI). The aim of the deal is to prevent further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production, and restore degraded forests.
Lion’s share of producers on-board
During this week’s Accra meeting, The Prince of Wales was briefed by the governments of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire and business leaders on progress made over the past year to implement the key joint commitments set out in the CFI. Both governments recently released their National Implementation Plans for 2018-2020, and the participating companies which account for 85 per cent of global cocoa usage are now finalising their detailed individual company action plans.
Key accomplishments over the past year include new restrictions related to land conversion for cocoa and to sourcing of cocoa from national parks, introduction of stronger land-use frameworks to differentiate and protect high conservation value forests, and development of more sustainable cocoa agro-forestry production systems.
The meeting participants stressed the importance of sustainable agricultural intensification in environmentally suitable areas and increased farmer incomes as essential pre-requisites for reducing pressure for agricultural encroachment in forests. Key steps are underway to grow more cocoa on less land, scale up climate-smart cocoa production, and ensure that cocoa can be tracked to the exact farm location.
Towards a more climate-resistant sector
Ghana Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, said that the Government of Ghana was committed to implementing its National Implementation Plan for the Cocoa & Forests Initiative. “We have already launched several new partnership activities with the cocoa industry in key deforestation hotspots that will generate stronger income and livelihoods for cocoa farmers while reducing carbon emissions and making the cocoa sector climate-resilient.”
Côte d’Ivoire Minister of Water and Forests, Alain-Richard Donwahi, highlighted that Côte d'Ivoire has enacted a new strategy for the preservation, rehabilitation and expansion of forests, and the promotion of a sustainable cocoa economy for the benefit of all stakeholders. “Our National Implementation Plan for the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, which is in line with the new strategy for the preservation, rehabilitation and expansion of forests, lays out the key building blocks for strong public-private partnership for balanced environmental and economic development in the cocoa sector.”
World Cocoa Foundation Chairman, Barry Parkin, stressed that eliminating deforestation in the cocoa supply chainwas “a top priority” for the 30-plus companies that have already signed on to the Cocoa & Forests Initiative. We are excited to work with the governments and other partners to develop new approaches and technologies for cocoa sustainability that are wins for the farmer, the countries, the planet, and our businesses,” he enthused.
Business leaders from the cocoa and chocolate industry briefed The Prince of Wales on specific activities they support in their supply chains. The leaders included representatives from Barry Callebaut, Cargill, The Hershey Company, Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Olam Cocoa, SIAT Group, and Touton.
The Cocoa & Forests Initiative has been co-ordinated closely with a wide range of development partners and civil society organisations. Representatives from Ghana’s cocoa-farming community and local environmental organisations, alongside from the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK and the African Development Bank, also attended the meeting in Accra.
The companies that have thus far signed the Framework for Action of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative are: Arysta Callivoire, Barry Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate Company, Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate, Cémoi, Chocolats Halba, Cocoanect, Cococo Chocolatiers, ECOM Group, Ferrero, General Mills Inc., Godiva Chocolatier Inc., Guittard Chocolate Company, The Hershey Company, Indcresa, Lindt & Sprüngli Group, Marks & Spencer Food, Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Meiji Co. Ltd., Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Olam Cocoa, Sainsbury’s, SIAT, Toms Group, Touton, Tree Global, Unilever, Valrhona, and J.H. Whittaker & Sons.