Thirty companies, accounting for about 85% of global cocoa usage, have now released their individual action plans to end deforestation in the cocoa sector and restore forest areas. The action plans focus on (1) forest protection and restoration, (2) sustainable cocoa production and farmers’ livelihoods, and (3) community engagement and social inclusion.
This public disclosure is part of the commitments of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, which was launched in November 2017 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany with the signing of the Frameworks for Action (Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire). These initial plans will be updated in 2019 in conjunction with the governments’ completion of several ongoing steps, including the revision of land use policies and regulations, mapping of protected areas, and collection of key forest and land use data. Aggregated action plans are available on the World Cocoa Foundation Website:
Ghana Action Plans English
Companies and governments are already implementing key actions on the ground to halt deforestation in the most ecologically important and environmentally sensitive areas. Significant steps include:
- Government implementation of land use and socio-economic surveys in priority areas to collect baseline data for the design of new agro-forestry and conservation programs;
- Development of farm mapping and traceability systems to ensure cocoa is sourced legally from farms outside of protected areas and monitor where cocoa from deforested areas could enter into the supply chain;
- Development of new landscape corridors to connect up fragmented forest reserves, and community-based landscape management to scale up conservation efforts through broader “jurisdictional approaches;”
- Investments in sustainable agricultural intensification in order to “grow more cocoa on less land,” with a focus on climate-smart production techniques, farmer training, increased access to financing, new government operational guidelines and company investment for agroforestry;
- Looking at incentive-based systems to promote environmentally sustainable agricultural practices, for instance through the launch of payments for environmental services contracts directly with farmers;
- Government land tenure reforms and tools that allow farmers to obtain official ownership of valuable non-cocoa trees on their farms and thereby encourage investment in agro-forestry; and
- Use of satellite monitoring to track illegal deforestation in hotspot areas and issue deforestation alerts.