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Cocoa industry linked to illegal deforestation in Côte d'Ivoire & Ghana

In 2017, an investigation by the environmental campaigning group, Mighty Earth led to the release of “Chocolate’s Dark Secret” - a report which alleged that a large amount of the cocoa used in chocolate produced by Mars, Nestle, Hershey’s, Godiva, and other major chocolate companies was grown illegally in national parks and other protected areas in Ivory Coast and Ghana. The countries are the world’s two largest cocoa producers. The report documents how in several national parks and other protected areas, 90% or more of the land mass has been converted to cocoa. 

Company comments in response to the report findings are included below. 

Following the report, at the UN’s 2017 conference on climate change in Bonn, the cocoa and chocolate companies responsible for the purchase of 80% of west Africa’s cocoa promised to end forest destruction

Despite the chocolate industry’s pledge to cease sourcing cocoa linked to deforestation, a 2018 Mighty Earth report has found that deforestation in West Africa for cocoa has continued, and in some cases has increased. The report, Behind the Wrapper: Greenwashing in the Chocolate Industry, identifies deforestation hotspots, including in protected areas and national parks, putting some of the last refuges for forest elephants and chimpanzees at risk and threatening the stability of the regional climate.

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18 December 2018

Cargill launches action plan to ensure cocoa supply chain traceability & improve labour rights

Author: BusinessGreen

"Cargill beefs up pledge to end cocoa deforestation", 17 December 2018

One of the world's largest agri-businesses has unveiled ambitious new plans to end deforestation in its cocoa supply chain, pledging to enhance traceability across its key supplier markets. Cargill last week launched the Protect Our Planet plan, setting out how it intends to "eliminate deforestation from its cocoa supply chain".

... the multinational giant said that by next year it will achieve 100 per cent direct supply chain traceability in Ivory Coast and pledge to ensure "no further conversion" of any forest land in Ghana and Ivory Coast for cocoa production. The plan will then be expanded... to... Brazil, Indonesia, and Cameroon.

"We recognise there is considerable urgency to address climate and deforestation challenges," said Cargill cocoa and chocolate president, Harold Poelma "...We have made important first steps but there is more to be done and we believe that this action plan is how we will reach our goal."...

Under the programme, the company said it will ensure supply chain traceability, expand environmental and labour rights standards, engage with suppliers to improve best practices, and report on its progress...

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17 December 2018

Environmental campaigners say cocoa industry not meeting deforestation pledges in Ghana & Ivory Coast

Author: Ruth Maclean, The Guardian

"Africa cocoa industry failing on deforestation pledge - campaigners", 7 December 2018.

The cocoa industry is failing to meet a highly publicised pledge to stop deforestation in west Africa and eliminate tainted beans from supply chains, environmental campaigners say. Big chocolate companies and the governments of Ghana and the Ivory Coast continue to be responsible for the deforestation of tens of thousands of hectares of land over the past year in former rainforest-covered nations, despite their solemn promises to end the practice last November, the campaigning organisation Mighty Earth said...at the UN’s conference on climate change in Bonn, the cocoa and chocolate companies responsible for the purchase of 80% of west Africa’s cocoa promised to end forest destruction...Satellite mapping shows many new areas where there has been significant deforestation in the past year, particularly in Ivory Coast...Farmers who continued to cut trees down said they could still sell their cocoa openly without any repercussions...Cocoa is mostly grown on small plots of land by individual farmers, who sell it on to cooperatives and middlemen, who in turn sell it to big companies. This makes it more difficult to track cocoa beans down to the farm they were grown on and to monitor their practices...Part of the Ivorian government plan has been to convert degraded “classified forests”, which should have been protected but were not, into agroforests managed by cocoa companies. Olam said it signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government for one of these forests in June...Julia Christian, a forest campaigner at Fern, an NGO that monitors deforestation, said the conversion plan was worrying. “It’s sending the message that if companies cause deforestation, at some point the government will just legalise the deforestation and allow it to continue,” she said...

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7 December 2018

Mighty Earth accuses chocolate industry of failing to meet commitments to combat deforestation

Author: Mighty Earth

"New Report: One Year In, Chocolate Industry Commitments Fail to Stop Deforestation", 7 December 2018

Despite the chocolate industry’s pledge to cease sourcing cocoa linked to deforestation one year ago, a new Mighty Earth report finds that deforestation in West Africa for cocoa has continued, and in some cases has increased. The report, Behind the Wrapper: Greenwashing in the Chocolate Industry, identifies deforestation hotspots, including in protected areas and national parks, putting some of the last refuges for forest elephants and chimpanzees at risk and threatening the stability of the regional climate...

Last year, the world’s largest chocolate and cocoa companies... stood beside representatives of... Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, and committed to transform their industry, creating the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI)... Approaching the one-year anniversary of these commitments, Mighty Earth used a combination of satellites, drones, and on-the-ground field teams to identify how – and if – these commitments are being implemented in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

The report found that over half of the Ivorian forest areas reviewed showed an increase in their rates of deforestation since the announcement of the CFI one year ago. This deforestation violates the most fundamental tenet of the chocolate industry’s and governments’ commitment: to end new cultivation of cocoa in national parks and protected areas...

Mighty Earth’s field team documented... children laboring in cocoa fields as well...

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Author: La Côte d'Ivoire et les entreprises signataires

Nous, les signataires de ce Cadre d’Action Commune, nous nous engageons à travailler ensemble sur les plans techniques et financiers, pour la préservation et la réhabilitation des forets de Côte d'Ivoire, en accord avec la politique forestière nationale en vigueur...Ce Cadre d’Action s’appuie sur la Déclaration d’Intention Collective annoncée à la réunion de haut niveau organisée par Son Altesse Royale le Prince de Galles à Londres en mars 2017. Il définit les engagements principaux, les actions tangibles, les objectifs assortis de délais précis et d’autres prérequis nécessaires pour une chaîne de valeur du cacao sans déforestation en Côte d’Ivoire. Le Cadre d’Actions a été développé au travers d’un processus multi-parties prenantes qui a rassemblé le Gouvernement, le secteur privé y compris les producteurs et organisations de producteurs, les organisations de la société civile nationales et internationales, les partenaires au développement et autres parties prenantes en Côte d’Ivoire et à l’international. Il est organisé autour des trois thématiques suivantes: • Protection et restauration de la forêt : cette thématique comprend la conservation des parcs nationaux et réserves, l’amélioration de la couverture forestière dans le domaine rural ainsi que la restauration des forêts classées, ayant été dégradées par les activités humaines, en particulier par l’empiètement des plantations de cacao; • Production durable et sources de revenu des producteurs: cette thématique comprend l’intensification responsable et la diversification de la production afin d’accroitre les rendements et revenus des producteurs de cacao, et de réduire la pression sur les forêts; et • Participation des communautés et inclusion sociale: cette thématique couvre les garanties sociales au travers de l’engagement de la société civile et des communautés...En signant ce Cadre d’Action, le Gouvernement et les entreprises signataires s’accordent sur huit engagements principaux...Actions pour la Protection et Restauration des Forêts: Les signataires reconnaissent l’importance cruciale de la protection et la restauration des forêts ayant été précédemment dégradées en Côte d’Ivoire. Ils s’engagent sur les points suivants...


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16 November 2017

Joint Framework for Action - Ghana

Author: Government of Ghana and undersigned companies

We, the Government of Ghana – through the Minister of Land & Natural Resources - and undersigned companies, commit to work together to end deforestation and promote forest protection and restoration in the cocoa supply chain in Ghana through this Joint Framework for Action. The Framework builds on the Statement of Intent launched at a High - Level Meeting in London hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales in March 2017. It defines core commitments, verifiable actions, and timebound targets required for a deforestation-free and forest positive cocoa supply chain in Ghana. The Framework was developed through a multi-stakeholder process that brought together government, private sector, farmers and farmers’ organizations, national and international civil society organizations, development partners, and other stakeholders in Ghana and at the global level. It is structured around the following three themes: Forest protection and restoration: this covers the conservation and rehabilitation of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Wildlife Resource Reserves, Forest Reserves, and unprotected off-reserve forest lands; Sustainable production and farmers’ livelihood : this covers sustainable intensification and diversification of production in order to increase farmers’ yields and income and to reduce pressure on forests ; and Community engagement and social inclusion: this covers social safeguards through civil society and community engagement...By signing the Framework,Government and signatory companies agree to eight core commitments...Signatories recognize the critical importance of protecting Ghana forests and of restoring forests that have been previously degraded. They commit to the following: A.There will be no further conversion of any forest land (as defined under national regulations and using methodologies such as High Carbon Stock (HCS) and High Conservation Value (HCV) approach) for cocoa production as of 1 January 2018. B. There will be no production and sourcing of cocoa from National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, and Wildlife Resource Reserves, except from farms with existing legal status, as of 1 January 2018. C. A differentiated approach for Forest Reserves will be adopted by Government by 31 December 2018. It will be based on the following categories and will specify the number of hectares, timeline, roles and responsibilities, budget and fund-mobilization strategy for each category.

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1 November 2017

Cocoa & Forests Initiative announced at UN COP23

Author: World Cocoa Foundation

"Cocoa & Forests Initiative", November 2017

The World Cocoa Foundation and our members have joined together with the governments of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Colombia to commit to no further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production, to end deforestation and restore forest areas, and to eliminate illegal cocoa production in national parks.

At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23), top cocoa-producing countries Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana with leading chocolate and cocoa companies announced far-reaching Frameworks for Action to end deforestation and restore forest areas...

The companies and governments pledged to eliminate illegal cocoa production in national parks, in line with stronger enforcement of national forest policies and development of alternative livelihoods for affected farmers...

The set of public-private actions represent unprecedented commitments on forest protection and restoration, and sustainable cocoa production and farmer livelihoods...

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24 October 2017

Commitment to chocolate

Author: Kristen Leigh Painter, The Philadelphia Inquirer (USA)

Cargill Inc. is increasing its commitment to sustainable-sourced cocoa as Western consumers seek greater assurance that their chocolate consumption isn't fueling deforestation and child labor...As a supply chain leader, Cargill is often scrutinized for its role in either helping or hurting environmental and social concerns associated with the harvesting of cocoa beans. The release of the company's third annual cocoa report comes on the heels of an investigative report by the British newspaper the Guardian that found "dirty cocoa" - or cocoa illegally grown within protected areas in Cote d'Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast - was being mixed into the "clean cocoa" supply chain...Cargill said its goals have evolved as the challenges faced by smallholder farmers have changed. The company has now turned these "evidence-based" discoveries into tangible steps that it can take to reach its goals by 2030. Taco Terheijden, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate's director of sustainability, said he hopes this acts as a clear declaration to define the industry's role and hopes it helps the local governments define their own role as well. " If you don't define your role, it becomes this thing where we are pointing toward one another and waiting for someone else to do something. These are not easy, quick problems to be solved," Terheijden said. Cargill aims to eliminate child labor from its supply chain by 2025 and deforestation by 2030. It has implemented a number of educational programs for its farmers to spot and avoid such practices. The company also continues to partner with CARE International, a well-known nonprofit, which is working to create economic opportunities for women and open schools for children. The company is closer to reaching 100 percent sustainable sourced cocoa beans in some countries, such as Ivory Coast, than in others, like Ghana where only 4 percent can be traced to sustainable sources.

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19 October 2017

Partnership for Productivity Protection and Resilience in Cocoa Landscapes launched at 2nd National REDD+ Forum in Ghana

Author: Partnerships for Forests

Touton S.A. and partners have today signed an MoU to launch the Partnership for Productivity Protection and Resilience in Cocoa Landscapes (PPRCL). The signing event took place in Accra, Ghana alongside the 2nd National REDD+ Forum instituted by the Ghana Forestry Commission, and was attended by the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo. Signatories include the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), the Ghana Forestry Commission, Touton S.A., Agro Eco-Louis Bolk Institute, Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC), and SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation. With Partnerships for Forests’ support, this project aims to achieve a deforestation-free cocoa landscape in the Juabeso and Bia Districts of Western Ghana and to develop a market for climate-smart cocoa beans. The PPRCL project is expected to make a major contribution to halting deforestation driven by cocoa production in Ghana.

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16 October 2017

Reversing deforestation - We want to safeguard cocoa farming and the Amazon for the future

Author: Cargill (USA)

As a leader in agriculture, food and nutrition, we are keenly aware that the strength of the global food system depends on the health of the world’s natural resources and farming communities. That is why we have committed to ending deforestation in our cocoa supply chain to help mitigate climate change and reduce habitat loss. The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world, but it faces significant threats such as agricultural expansion. In the last ten years, this expansion accounted for half of all deforestation in tropical areas worldwide. It is also a region that has excellent conditions for cocoa. Our partnership with The Nature Conservancy in Brazil is engaging diverse stakeholders to reverse deforestation trends in the Amazon. At the same time, we are promoting a sustainable rural economy through agroforestry with cocoa on degraded or unproductive pasturelands. Through a three-year partnership, we are replanting areas of land that have been cleared of forest, as well as growing 1,000 hectares of cocoa using the forest canopy as shade protection. Farmers are able to expand cocoa production and become compliant with the Forest Code without having to give up the economic potential of their farm. To date, 100 farmers have been trained in Good Agricultural Practices and have had their farms mapped. 500 hectares of land have also been planted with cocoa and native forest. By 2020, we plan to reach 2,500 farmers in Brazil...500 hectares of land has been planted with cocoa and native forest...2,500 farmers will be reached by 2020...“Currently, 100 families are engaged in the Forest Cocoa project and 500 hectares have been planted with agroforestry cocoa. This highlights the opportunity to expand our efforts to more than 2,500 families by 2020 if we can establish inter-institutional arrangements with the private sector, public agencies and cocoa producers. Cargill's support has been instrumental to the success of the project." [said] Rodrigo Mauro Freire is Forest Cocoa Project Manager at the Nature Conservancy Council in Brazil.

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1 October 2017

Barry Callebaut joins Bonsucro sustainability program - Barry Callebaut joins Bonsucro sustainability program

Author: Barry Callebaut (Switzerland)

Chocolate and cocoa manager Barry Callebaut has joined Bonsucro, a multi-stakeholder platform that brings together industry representatives and NGOs to work on a sustainable cane sugar value chain. With sugarcane being grown in more than 100 countries around the world, sustainability brings with it a diverse set of challenges. Among them are human and labor rights concerns, as well as environmental challenges such as soil erosion and water scarcity. Joining Bonsucro is part of Barry Callebaut’s “Forever Chocolate” program, which is a plan aimed at using 100 percent sustainable ingredients by 2025.

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