The Cocoa & Forests Initiative is currently implemented in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which produce approximately 60% of the world’s annual supply of cocoa, and Colombia, where cocoa is being seen as an opportunity to support the peace process.
The Initiative, launched in 2017, is chaired by the governments of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Colombia, and is facilitated by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF). The Cocoa & Forest Initiative is generously supported by P4F and BUZA.
Overview of the commitments and action plans
The cocoa and chocolate sector commitment is captured in the Cocoa & Forests Initiative Collective Statement of Intent. Launched on March 2017 by the Prince of Wales, it has now been signed by 35 companies committing to “working together, pre-competitively, to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain, with an initial focus on Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire”.
Following the Statement of Intent, Frameworks for Action have been signed by government and leading chocolate and cocoa companies in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Colombia. These Frameworks focus on:
- Conservation of National Parks and forested land, as well as restoration of forests that have been degraded by cocoa farm encroachment.
- Sustainable intensification and diversification of income in order to increase farmers’ yields and livelihood, to grow “more cocoa on less land” and thereby reduce pressure on forests.
- Engagement and empowerment of cocoa-growing communities. In particular mitigation of the social impacts and risks of land-use changes on affected cocoa farmers and their communities.
In Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, these Frameworks for Action have been translated into National Implementation Plans, released in June/July 2018. These plans specify timelines, roles and responsibilities, monitoring and evaluation, and governance. The implementation plans were shaped by public, private and civil society stakeholders, through a series of strategic and technical discussions.
On March 2019, thirty-three company signatories, accounting for about 85% of global cocoa usage, released detailed individual action plans. These plans spell out the specific actions each company will take in 2018-2022, to deliver on their commitments set out in the Frameworks for Action. Each company action plan has been aligned to the National Implementation Plans.
Framework for action – Ghana (2017)
National Implementation Plan – Ghana (2018)
CFI Progress Report (2018)
Company aggregated action plans – Ghana (2019)
In the cocoa sector, deforestation and forest degradation are mostly driven by smallholder farmers, who are looking for new and more productive land, to grow crops and sustain their livelihoods. Therefore, addressing deforestation requires addressing the root cause of poverty. The Cocoa & Forests Initiative does so by structuring company and government commitments and strategies around 3 pillars:
- Forest protection and restoration;
- Sustainable cocoa production and farmers’ livelihoods; and
- Community engagement and social inclusion.
Close collaboration and coordination is needed to reduce cocoa-related deforestation and forest degradation, and when needed, foster forest restoration. The Cocoa & Forests Initiative offers this space. Through a platform for producing country government, private sector, farmer organizations, civil society organizations and other key stakeholders to collaborate on the development and implementation of business-driven solutions.
- Producing country government: at national level (e.g. policy making) and jurisdictional level (e.g. enforcement of regulations, land use planning);
- Private sector and farmers organizations: at global level (e.g. commitments, supply chain transparency), national level (e.g. to help design new traceability system) and local level (e.g. to implement farmer support programs);
- Civil society organizations: at national level (e.g. to ensure policy making takes into account communities’ needs) and local level (e.g. to help implement livelihood enhancing programs and community-based forest monitoring initiatives).
Building on existing initiatives is key to address deforestation. The Frameworks actively seek synergies with relevant initiatives, especially the Tropical Forest Alliance. In both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire signatories are also part of the Declaration for the Sustainable Development of the Oil Palm Sector in Africa. Other relevant platforms in Ghana are set up by Solidaridad (mining), Touton, and AgroEco as well as the New Ghana Cocoa Platform. In Colombia engagement is linked to the the Food and Land Use Coalition, and the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture (whose secretariat is hosted by IDH).
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