Some of the world’s largest confectionery companies have signed up to the World Cocoa Foundation’s frameworks to combat deforestation in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
The two countries produce nearly two-thirds of the world’s annual supply of cocoa and the initiative will protect national parks from illegal cocoa production and develop alternative livelihoods for affected smallholder farmers.
The far-reaching Frameworks for Action, led by the World Cocoa Foundation, was announced this week at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany.
The initiatives were developed through an extensive, multi-stakeholder process that brought together two national governments, the private sector, including farmer and farmers’ organisations, national and international civil society organisations, development partners, and other stakeholders in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
The frameworks are centred around three themes: forest protection and restoration, sustainable production and farmers’ livelihoods, and community engagement and social inclusion.
Companies that have signed up to the framework include: Barry Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate Company, Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate, CEMOI, Cococo Chocolatiers, ECOM Group, Ferrero, General Mills, Godiva Chocolatier, Guittard Chocolate Company, The Hershey Company, Mars Wrigley Confectionary, Meiji, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Olam Cocoa, Sainsbury’s, Toms Group, Touton, Tree Global, and J.H. Whittaker & Sons. Additional companies are soon expected to announce their commitment to the Frameworks.
General Mills has committed to sourcing 100% sustainable cocoa by 2020. More than 70% of the cocoa General Mills buys is grown in West African countries including Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
General Mills chief supply chain officer John Church said: “Deforestation is a significant challenge, but by aligning and working together, we can help put a stop to it and positively impact climate change by rehabilitating the land.
“We also recognise there are systemic labour issues in the cocoa supply chain, and we understand it will take industry-wide collaboration to make improvements. Having the national and local governments, who are key to addressing the issues, at the table from the beginning is key.”
President of the World Cocoa Foundation Richard Scobey added: “The Frameworks for Action announced in Bonn, and signed by visionary companies including General Mills, protect and restore forests that have been degraded, accelerate investment in agricultural productivity and engage communities about the importance of this work to their long-term wellbeing.
“Most of the deforestation in the cocoa sector in West Africa is a result of poor farmers trying to earn a living by going into protected areas to cut down trees to grow cocoa. This means that we must focus on community development, community empowerment, and making sure that farmers’ livelihoods are taken in to account and respected.”
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