Cocoa & Forests Initiative

The governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and 35 leading cocoa and chocolate companies have joined together in the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to end deforestation and restore forest areas. In Colombia, the government and cocoa and chocolate companies signed the Cocoa, Forest & Peace Initiative to eliminate cocoa-related deforestation.

The Challenge of Chocolate and Forests

Collective Action to End Cocoa-Related Deforestation

Deforestation is a major issue in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which together produce nearly two-thirds of the world’s supply of cocoa. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana respectively lost 25% and 8% of their primary forest between 2002-2019, with a significant portion of deforestation due to cocoa farming.

To end deforestation and restore forest areas, the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and 35 leading cocoa and chocolate companies have joined together in the Cocoa & Forests Initiative since 2017.

Here are key actions by cocoa and chocolate companies:

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Agroforestry provides benefits for farmers and the planet
10.4 million forest trees distributed since 2018

Agroforestry, or mixing forest and cocoa trees, restores ecosystems, stabilizes yields and provides alternative sources of income. In 2020 alone, companies have distributed 6 million forest trees for planting on farms.

Read Lucas’ story to understand how this works on his cocoa farm.

82% and 74% traceable cocoa

In 82% (Ghana) and 74% (Côte d’Ivoire) of cases when they buy directly from the farmers, cocoa and chocolate companies have tracked the cocoa from the farm to the first purchase point, identified each farmer with a unique number, and mapped their plots. These high numbers were achieved despite farmers moving in and out of sourcing programs and are the result of significant investments with almost 605,000 cocoa farms mapped this year.

How is this possible? Read Jean-Marie and Raphaelle‘s stories.

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Traceability starts by mapping cocoa plots and farms, one by one
Photo of sustainable cocoa farmer Hamidu Isaka
Training is key to allow farmers to grow 'More Cocoa on Less Land'
620,000 farmers trained in good agricultural practices

Good agricultural practices generate better yields on cocoa farms. And better livelihoods mean less incentive to encroach on forests to plant cocoa.

Hamidu explains how he works with cocoa farmers to get these results.

240,000 Farmers with financial products

It’s important to ensure farming communities have access to finance to invest in their livelihoods. Companies also support 4,500 rural savings groups – VSLAs – with a total of 109,000 members in 2020.

Read Ardjouma‘s story on financial training, and learn how getting involved in a VLSA helped Lucie and her neighbors.

Four sustainable women cocoa farmers in Cote dIvoire
Women in cocoa communities benefit from working together in savings groups

The Cocoa & Forests Initiative Journey

At the November 2017 UN Climate Change Conference (COP23), the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and leading chocolate and cocoa companies signed the Cocoa & Forests Initiative Frameworks for Action.

In March 2019, another milestone was reached to strengthen transparency and accountability in the cocoa supply chain: the signatories released action plans that spell out concrete steps to end cocoa-related deforestation. The action plans focus on:

  • Forest protection and restoration
  • Sustainable cocoa production and farmers’ livelihoods
  • Community engagement and social inclusion

In 2020, the Cocoa & Forests Initiative reported on the first two years of implementation. Cocoa and chocolate companies focused on teaching farmers to grow more cocoa on less land, planting forest trees, and mapping farms to understand better where their cocoa comes from.

Visit Francis’s farm and learn how he is coping with climate change:

Learn more about the Cocoa & Forests Initiative action plans

The Cocoa & Forests Initiative Eight Core Commitments

In line with Sustainable Development Goals 13 (Climate Action) and 15 (Life on Land) and the Paris Climate Agreement, Cocoa & Forests Initiative companies and governments have committed to:

  1. Prohibit and prevent activities in the cocoa sector that cause or contribute to any further deforestation or forest degradation. For Côte d’Ivoire, this relates to National Parks and Reserves, as well as Classified Forests, and conserved forests in the rural domain, such as sacred forests. For Ghana, this relates to Wildlife Sanctuaries, Wildlife Resource Reserves, Forest Reserves, and unprotected off-reserve forest lands.
  2. Respect the rights of cocoa farmers, including identifying and mitigating social risks, and sequencing the implementation of actions to minimize potential adverse social and economic impacts;
  3. Promote the effective restoration and long-term conservation of National Parks and Reserves, and Classified Forests in Côte d’Ivoire; and of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Wildlife Resource Reserves, Forest Reserves, and unprotected off-reserve forest lands in Ghana;
  4. Strengthen supply chain mapping, with the end goal of full traceability at the farm-level;
  5. Implement verifiable actions and timebound targets on the basis of sound data, robust and credible methodologies, stakeholder consultation, and realistic timeframes;
  6. Implement agreed actions in the context of a broader landscape-level approach, with strong links with similar initiatives in other commodities, and full alignment with the national REDD+ strategy and other relevant national strategies and plans such as the new Ghana Cocoa Sector Development Strategy II and the Ivorian Forest Protection, Restoration and Extension Strategy (SPREF);
  7. Work together to implement the Framework actions, and mobilize the necessary financing, resources and technical support for implementation, including continued engagement in a multi-stakeholder process for dialogue on key issues, development of effective implementation plans, joint learning and knowledge sharing and enable institutional capacity;
  8. Provide effective monitoring and reporting on progress on commitments and actions to ensure transparency and accountability.

Learn More

Signatory Companies

Barry Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate Company(1), Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate, Cémoi(1), Chocolats Halba (2), Cococo Chocolatiers, ECOM Group(2), The Export Trading Group, Ferrero, GCB Cocoa(1), General Mills Inc., Godiva Chocolatier Inc., Guittard Chocolate Company, The Hershey Company, Indcresa(2), JB Foods(1), Kuapa Kokoo(2), Lindt & Sprüngli Group, Marks & Spencer Food, Mars Wrigley, Meiji Co. Ltd.(2), Mondelēz, Nestlé, Olam Cocoa, Puratos(1), Sainsbury’s, SIAT(1), Sucden, Tesco, Toms Group(2), Touton, Unilever(1), UPL, Valrhona, J.H. Whittaker & Sons(2) (1) Côte d’Ivoire only (2) Ghana only

Key Partners

CFI is facilitated by IDH - The Sustainable Trade Initiative. Financial partners include the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Partnerships for Forests, and the World Bank. CFI is coordinated with Amsterdam Declaration Partnership, Beyond Chocolate, Dutch Initiative for Sustainable Cocoa, German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa, Proforest, Rainforest Alliance, Swiss Initiative for Sustainable Cocoa, Tropical Forest Alliance, World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund.

Colombia: the Cocoa, Forests & Peace Initiative

In 2018, Colombia became the first country from Latin America to join Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire on signing on to the principles of the Initiative. Through the Cocoa, Forests and Peace Initiative, the Government of Colombia, WCF members Compañía Nacional de Chocolates and Luker Chocolate, and the National Cocoa Federation are committed to eliminate deforestation from the country’s cocoa supply chain.

The commitment is supported by the World Resources Institute and IDH-the Sustainable Trade Initiative.

Download Materials

  • Plan de Acción Cacao, Bosques & Paz
    pdf    
  • Colombia Cocoa, Forests, and Peace Initiative Joint Framework for Action
    pdf    

Companies and governments are stepping up – we call on development partners and civil society organizations to join us and support long-term solutions for sustainable cocoa production and forest management.

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Cocoa & Forests Initiative Achievements 2018-2019

Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) signatories released reports of their progress from 2018-2019 towards ending deforestation and restoring forest areas of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Watch this video for the highlights.