Bakers Journal

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Cocoa and chocolate companies commit to deforestation-free cocoa


November 17, 2017
By Bakers Journal

Zurich, Switzerland – Leading cocoa and chocolate companies and the governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana have signed the Frameworks for Action of the Cocoa and Forest Initiative on Nov. 16.

The goal of these frameworks is to eradicate deforestation from the cocoa supply chain in West Africa, said Barry Callebaut, one of the signatories, in a news release.

“We were one of the leading companies driving the final agreement of the framework,“ said Christiaan Prins, head of external affairs for the company, in the release. “The frameworks for action are truly unique, as there is no other commodity for which governments, industry and NGOs have come together to agree on concrete measures to eradicate deforestation.”

Pablo Perversi, Barry Callebaut’s chief innovation and quality officer, joined the signing of the framework agreements.

The frameworks include an end to the conversion of any forest land for cocoa production, a moratorium on the direct sourcing of cocoa from national parks and reserves by Jan. 1, 2018, and the development of an action plan by signatory companies and governments to eliminate cocoa production and sourcing from national parks and reserves.

The company elaborated on the issue: “The framework also foresees the development of alternative livelihoods for affected farmers. Many cocoa farmers have been farming for years in the forests, so alternative livelihoods have to be found for this group of farmers. Deforestation is as much a social problem in West Africa, as it is an environmental problem.”

Cocoa production-related deforestation in West Africa is caused by a combination of cocoa farmer poverty, climate and pollution-induced low yields and challenges in enforcing forest protection laws. The frameworks promote additional investment in climate-smart agriculture, that is, producing more cocoa on less land.

Although more detailed plans for the implementation of the Frameworks for Action have to be worked out and companies will have to draft their plans for action, the frameworks are a big step forward in eradicating deforestation from the cocoa supply chain, the company said.