On March 16 2017 the twelve largest global chocolate and cocoa companies committed to develop cooperative, multi-stakeholder frameworks to help address deforestation and forest degradation in their cocoa supply chains in Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana. The meeting was held in London, together with Ghanian and Ivorian authorities, and hosted by Prince Charles, HRH The Prince of Wales.
The agreement signed commits the participating companies to develop and present a joint public-private framework of action to address deforestation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP 23) meeting in Bonn in November of this year. This is a big step forward, as the cocoa industry – following the Palm, Pulp & Paper, Beef and Soy industries, acknowledge the key role Cocoa plays in tropical deforestation in West-Africa and commit themselves to support local authorities in fighting the battle against deforestation. Together with the World Cocoa Foundation and the Prince Charles sustainability unit (ISU), IDH will take the lead in supporting the companies to define the action plan.
- Collective Statement of Intent on Cocoa and Forests
The agreement, signed and concluded during a meeting hosted in London by HRH The Prince of Wales, commits the participating companies to develop and present a joint public-private framework of action to address deforestation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP 23) meeting in Bonn in November of this year.
The meeting, organized by World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), IDH and The Prince’s International Sustainability Unit (ISU), is the first of its kind covering the global cocoa supply chain.
Senior executives from the 12 companies stated their commitment to develop an actionable suite of measures to address deforestation, including greater investments in more sustainable forms of landscape management; more active efforts, in partnership with others to protect and restore forests in the cocoa landscape; and significant investments in programs to improve cocoa productivity for smallholder farmers working in the cocoa supply chain.
Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are the world’s leading producers of cocoa, and many observers point to cocoa farming as a driving force behind rapid rates of deforestation in both countries.
“Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s leading producer of cocoa, was proud to sign the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests. We stand ready to partner with the private sector so that together we can meet the goal of eliminating deforestation from the production of agricultural commodities, including cocoa. Today we are happy to join with The Prince of Wales, World Cocoa Foundation, IDH and others in taking this important step along the course toward conserving, restoring and managing forests for the benefit of all Ivorians“, said Aly Touré, Côte d’Ivoire’s Permanent Representative to International Commodity Bodies.
Planning and consulting
The 12 companies will now engage in a planning and consultation process under the umbrella of IDH with non-government organizations, farmer organizations and other relevant stakeholders to build the joint framework to be unveiled at COP 23.
Building on existing initiatives
As farmers in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America seek new areas of land to grow crops including cocoa amid increasing global demand, WCF, IDH and ISU organized an industry commitment to address forest degradation recognizing that deforestation is likely to increase in thefuture unless concerted action is taken. This commitment builds on the cocoa industry’s existing initiatives in partnership with producer country governments and other stakeholders to design sustainable cocoa development programs aimed at improving the livelihoods of the millions of smallholder farmers who grow cocoa.
Senior representatives of the Agence Française de Développement, Greenpeace, International Finance Corporation, Oxfam, SECO – Swiss Economic Cooperation and Development, Tropical Forests Alliance, World Bank, World Resources Institute, and UN Environment, as well as other organizations, were also present at the signing.
Joost Oorthuizen, Executive Director of IDH: “We feel very privileged and honored to be involved in this process. In recent history, the cocoa sector has proven to not be afraid to address difficult issues like child labor, malnutrition, and poverty reduction, all in a non-competitive manner. This meeting provides a great starting point to expedite action on the deforestation issue in concert with other relevant stakeholders.”