Cocoa & Forests Initiative

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.

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. Central to the Frameworks is a commitment to no further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production.

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. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana combined produce nearly two-thirds of the world’s annual supply of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate and a range of other consumer products.

The set of public-private actions represent unprecedented commitments on forest protection and restoration, and sustainable cocoa production and farmer livelihoods. These combined actions, which are aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement, will play a crucial role in sequestering carbon stocks and thereby addressing global and local climate change.

Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana announced plans to introduce a differentiated approach for improved management of forest reserves, based on the level of degradation of the forests. Up-to-date maps on forest cover and land-use, as well as socio-economic data on cocoa farmers and their communities will be developed and publicly shared by the governments. Chocolate and cocoa industry agree to put in place verifiable monitoring systems for traceability from farm to the first purchase point for their own purchases of cocoa, and will work with the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to ensure an effective national framework for traceability for all traders in the supply chain.

The governments and companies agree through the Frameworks to accelerate investment in long-term sustainable production of cocoa, with an emphasis on “growing more cocoa on less land”. Key actions include provision of improved planting materials, training in good agricultural practices, and development and capacity-building of farmers’ organizations.  Sustainable livelihoods and income diversification for cocoa farmers will be accelerated through food crop diversification, agricultural inter-cropping, development of mixed agro-forestry systems, and other income generating activities designed to boost and diversify household income while protecting forests.

The governments and companies, which represent and estimated 80+ percent of global cocoa usage, commit to full and effective consultation and participation of cocoa farmers in the process, and promotion of community-based management models for forest protection and restoration. The governments will assess and mitigate the social impacts and risks of any proposed land-use changes on affected communities, and ensure provision of alternative livelihoods and restoration of standard of living of affected communities as needed.

The governments and companies have committed to a comprehensive monitoring process, including a satellite-based monitoring system to track progress on the overall deforestation target, and annual publicly disclosed reporting on progress and outcomes related to the specific actions in each Framework.

Featured Experts Ethan Budiansky

Director of Environment
World Cocoa Foundation

The Cocoa & Forests Initiative in Colombia

On July 17, 2018, Colombia became the first country from Latin America to join Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire on signing on to the principles of the Initiative. Through the ‘Cocoa, Forests and Peace Initiative’, the Government of Colombia—along with its largest cocoa company, Casa Luker, and the National Cocoa Federation—is now committed to eliminate deforestation from the country’s cocoa supply chain by 2020. The commitment will be supported by the World Resources Institute and IDH-the Sustainable Trade Initiative.


Arysta Callivoire, Barry Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate Company, Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate, Cémoi, Chocolats Halba, Cocoanect, Cococo Chocolatiers, ECOM Group, Fazer, Ferrero, General Mills Inc., Godiva Chocolatier Inc., Guittard Chocolate Company, The Hershey Corporation, Indcresa, Lindt & Sprüngli Group, Marks & Spencer Food, Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Meiji Co. Ltd.(1), Mondelēz Europe, Nestlé, Olam Cocoa, PBC Limited, Sainsbury’s, SIAT, Toms Group, Touton, Tree Global, Unilever, Valrhona, J.H. Whittaker & Sons(2) (1)(2)Ghana only

Key Partners

UK Department for International Development, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, World Bank

Core Commitments

1. Prohibit and prevent activities in the cocoa sector that cause or contribute to any further deforestation or forest degradation in National Parks and Reserves, Classified Forests, and conserved forests in the rural domain, such as sacred forests.

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;

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;

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; and

8. Provide effective monitoring and reporting on progress on commitments and actions to ensure transparency and accountability.

Download Materials

  • Côte d'Ivoire Framework for Action (English)
  • Côte d’Ivoire Cadre d’Action Commune (français)
  • Implementation Plan for Joint Framework for Action: Côte d'Ivoire
  • Ghana Framework for Action
  • Implementation Plan for Joint Framework for Action: Ghana
  • Cocoa, Forests, and Peace Initiative in Colombia Joint Framework for Action

Cocoa & Forests Initiative Frameworks for Action

A landmark agreement to end deforestation and restore forests in the cocoa-growing regions of West Africa took place at COP23 in Bonn, Germany on November 16, 2017.