The Power of Art to Raise Deforestation Awareness

Headshot of Ilaria Ida Unilever

Author Ilaria Ida Walton

Senior Manager, Sustainable Sourcing & Livelihoods

Magnum recently unveiled a unique arts and radio collaboration as part of its announcement of a large-scale agroforestry project in the Cavally Forest region in Côte d’Ivoire. The project, started in March 2021, recognized the need to deliver a program to cocoa producing communities around the Cavally region to bring light to the importance of halting deforestation.

A key element of stopping deforestation is farmers’ sensitization, or awareness-raising. For a planting program to be successful, those closest to the ground benefit from being educated around the impact of deforestation and why evading illegal deforestation and restoring biodiverse forest habitats – by planting 465,000 trees – is vital to a sustainable future.

Les Arbres de L’Espoir

Radio show episode by Magnum

To support these endeavours in an engaging way, Magnum – Unilever’s largest ice cream brand to use cocoa – commissioned production company ALMA, a Côte d’Ivoire-based theatre and radio company, to put together a theatre and radio performance. The performance alerted communities to the dangers of illegal deforestation, educated them about the new government Forest Code, and explained the benefits of agroforestry. The area where the 465,000 native trees will be planted spans the equivalent of over 3.5 times the size of central London. The drama series was broadcast in French and five local dialects, and almost one in four local people in the Cavally cocoa growing region listened.

The agroforestry program forms part of Magnum’s 2025 Cocoa Strategy, the objectives of which are to source 100% of cocoa sustainably and in a deforestation-free manner, while improving living income and eliminating child labor. This program is also part of Unilever’s Cocoa & Forests Initiative commitments.

The radio series builds on Magnum’s previous art collaborations to bring awareness to its long-term cocoa and sustainability commitments and Magnum’s history of championing important causes through the expression of art.