Mondelēz International will begin working with governments in West Africa to minimise deforestation in its supply chain.
The owner of Cadbury and Oreo has signed a memorandum of understanding with Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Environment through its Cocoa Life sustainability programme.
It has also signed a letter of intent with the Forestry Commission of Ghana and the UN Development Programme to reduce the effects of deforestation in the country.
The commitments form part of Mondelēz’s effort to completely eradicate deforestation and forest degradation from the cocoa supply chain.
“Cocoa farmers and community leaders in West Africa tell us climate change is already impacting their farms,” said Chris McGrath, chief wellbeing, sustainability and public affairs officer for Mondelēz International.
“With our investment in Cocoa Life, we have the capacity and the partnerships to help farmers become more resilient by adopting climate-smart solutions and protecting forests. These new agreements will amplify our existing work to protect the precious environment in cocoa-growing regions.”
The Cocoa Life programme and Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Environment will map areas at risk of deforestation, and identify opportunities to restore forest cover in the Nawa region in the southwest of the country.
Cocoa Life will also promote good agricultural practice to enable farmers to improve their productivity, adopt agro-forestry systems and free up land for other crops or reforestation efforts.
It comes just two days after Mondelēz was commended in a report for its efforts on eliminating child labour from the cocoa supply chain. The campaign group Stop the Traffik also recommended that Mondelēz work with other chocolate companies to establish a standard living wage for farmers.
“Mondelēz International, through its Cocoa Life program, is leading the cocoa industry to engage on an approach to reduce deforestation in the cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire,” said Jean Paul Aka, head of national deforestation strategy and private sector commitment in the country.
Launched in 2008, Cocoa Life has been rolled out across more than 795 cocoa farming communities and was extended to the Cadbury brand in November 2016.
Farmers enrolled on the project have seen their incomes rise almost 50% higher than if they were outside the programme.
Yaw Kwakye, head of the climate change unit in Ghana’s Forestry Commission, added: “The Cocoa Life programme in Ghana has contributed immensely to ongoing national efforts to make the cocoa sector economically and environmentally sustainable through the promotion of climate-smart approaches to cocoa farming.
Spearheading the uptake of innovation and best practices in major cocoa communities in Ghana, the programme remains a leader in advancing a new way of cocoa production that addresses deforestation and forest degradation.”
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