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

Author: Ruth Maclean, The Guardian, Published on: 17 December 2018

"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 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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Related companies: Olam