At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23), top cocoa-producing countries Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have announced far-reaching Frameworks for Action with leading chocolate and cocoa companies* to end deforestation and restore forest areas. Central to the Frameworks is a commitment to no further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production. The companies and governments pledged to eliminate illegal cocoa production in national parks, in line with stronger enforcement of national forest policies and development of alternative livelihoods for affected farmers. The two countries produce nearly two-thirds of the world’s annual supply of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate and a range of other consumer products.
The set of public-private actions announced today represent unprecedented commitments on forest protection and restoration, and sustainable cocoa production and farmer livelihoods. These combined actions, which are aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement, will play a crucial role in sequestering carbon stocks and thereby addressing global and local climate change. Both countries announced plans to introduce a differentiated approach for improved management of forest reserves, based on the level of degradation of the forests. Up-to-date maps on forest cover and land-use, as well as socioeconomic data on cocoa farmers and their communities will be developed and publicly shared by the governments.
Chocolate and cocoa industry agree to put in place verifiable monitoring systems for traceability from farm to the first purchase point for their own purchases of cocoa, and will work with the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to ensure an effective national framework for traceability for all traders in the supply chain. The two governments and companies agree through the Frameworks to accelerate investment in long-term sustainable production of cocoa, with an emphasis on “growing more cocoa on less land,”. Key actions include provision of improved planting materials, training in good agricultural practices, and development and capacity-building of farmers’ organizations. Sustainable livelihoods and income diversification for cocoa farmers will be accelerated through food crop diversification, agricultural inter-cropping, development of mixed agro-forestry systems, and other income generating activities designed to boost and diversify household income while protecting forests.
The governments and companies, which represent and estimated 80+ percent of global cocoa usage, commit to full and effective consultation and participation of cocoa farmers in the process, and promotion of community-based management models for forest protection and restoration. The governments will assess and mitigate the social impacts and risks of any proposed land-use changes on affected communities, and ensure provision of alternative livelihoods and restoration of standard of living of affected communities as needed. The governments and companies have committed to a comprehensive monitoring process, including a satellite-based monitoring system to track progress on the overall deforestation target, and annual publicly disclosed reporting on
progress and outcomes related to the specific actions in each Framework.
Speaking at the event, Côte d’Ivoire Minister of Water and Forests Alain Richard Donwahi said, “The forests of Côte d’Ivoire are an essential resource for the socio-economic development of our country. We support this Framework for Action and the vision it lays out for preserving and restoring our forests, including the national parks. We are pleased that the Framework is aligned with our National Policy of Preservation and Rehabilitation of Forests and the REDD+ strategy to secure our natural resources and help us to implement it.”
“The Government of Ghana is committed to upholding the actions agreed in this framework and will do our part to ensure the Framework’s success.” said Ghana Minister of Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amewu, “This includes enhancing environmental governance and supportive measures that enable cocoa farmers to adopt cocoa agroforestry practices that are climate-smart and well integrated with our REDD+ strategies.” World Cocoa Foundation Chairman Barry Parkin said, “These comprehensive Frameworks for Action are important landmarks as they spell out a series of steps by both governments and industry to stop deforestation in cocoa-growing areas. In making good on these commitments, the public and private sectors will be partnering on actions that result in cocoa becoming a serious agroforestry crop, where different trees and crops co-exist on the same land and previously deforested land is being rehabilitated. This approach could serve as a model for other commodities.”
*Companies that have thus far committed to the Frameworks are Barry Callebaut; Blommer Chocolate Company; Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate; CEMOI; Cococo Chocolatiers; ECOM Group; Ferrero; General Mills, Inc.; Godiva Chocolatier, Inc.; Guittard Chocolate Company; The Hershey Company; Mars Wrigley Confectionary; Meiji Co., Ltd.; Mondelēz International; Nestlé; Olam Cocoa; Sainsbury’s; Toms Group; Touton; Tree Global; and J.H. Whittaker & Sons Ltd. Additional companies are soon expected to announce their commitment to the Frameworks.
Deforestation of tropical rainforests is a major issue in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which together produce nearly twothirds of the world’s supply of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate and a range of other consumer products. Over a ten-year period, approximately 2.1 million hectares of forest area have been cleared in Côte d’Ivoire and 820,000 hectares in Ghana. One quarter of this deforestation has been attributed to cocoa production. Sustainable cocoa production provides crucial employment and income to local communities in both countries, underpinning national social and economic development. Accelerated transition to sustainable livelihoods is essential for ensuring the long term economic viability of over two million smallholder farmers who earn income from the crop’s production. The Cocoa & Forests Initiative was initiated by IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative, the Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit (ISU) and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), in partnership with the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The first step was the launch of an industry Statement of Intent to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain at a meeting hosted in London by HRH The Prince of Wales in March 2017.
The Frameworks for Action, agreed today, result from a process that brought together more than 500 stakeholders, including chocolate and cocoa companies, high-level government officials, development partners, environmental and civil society organizations, and farmer associations. The Cocoa & Forests Initiative draws on lessons learned and good practices from global efforts to reduce tropical deforestation in other commodities and sectors and will continue operating to support the implementation of the action plans at the global and local level.
The Initiative is also coordinated closely with a wide range of global and local environmental organizations, including the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020), Rainforest Alliance, and World Resources Institute. The work to date has been supported by several development partners, including the United Kingdom 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.