With 3 million tons of cocoa and chocolate products made annually, the $100 billion chocolate industry is part of the reason for deforestation.
Two or the worlds’ largest producers of cocoa bean, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, have been severely affected by deforestation. Côte d’Ivoire has lost almost half of its original forest cover, according to an article by Leoan Kaye, of triplepundit.com. And Ghana’s tropical forest areas are now only a quarter of their original size.
In an effort to draw attention to this situation, Prince Charles hosted a meeting that included representatives of the world’s largest chocolate manufacturers, including Mars, Nestlé, Mondelēz and Hershey.
After the meeting a number of companies committed to working together to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain, with an initial focus on Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
They pledged to:
--Promote and participate in multi-stakeholder coalitions that bring together public, private, and civil society partners, to support the development of a common vision and joint framework to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa sector;
--Align individual company action plans with the common vision and joint framework by 2018, to reach our respective deforestation commitments in the cocoa sector;
--Build on existing initiatives and catalyze further efforts to improve cocoa productivity and resilience to reduce pressure on existing forests, working in partnership with producer country governments, farmers and farmer organizations, civil society organizations, development partners, and other stakeholders; and promote improved practices through our supply chain relationships;
--Work in partnership with producer country governments and all relevant stakeholders to professionalize and economically empower farmers and their families, and deepen support for inclusive and participatory development of cocoa-growing communities, with a strong focus on gender empowerment;
--Ensure evidence-based decision-making by generating and sharing data and research on forests, forest loss and degradation, and patterns of land use in cocoa landscapes; and by promoting collective learning on sustainable commodity production across geographies, sectors and actors;
--Work with producer country governments, farmers and farmer organizations, civil society organizations, development partners, and other stakeholders to jointly advance effective approaches to land use policy and planning, forest protection, and where appropriate, forest and land restoration; and integrated landscape scale management;
--Encourage increased mobilization of financial resources from all sources (including public and private, bilateral and multilateral, and alternative sources of finance) as well as the use of innovative financial tools and mechanisms, to address the challenge of financing for sustainable development in the cocoa sector;
--Ensure effective and transparent monitoring and reporting on progress on our respective deforestation commitments in the cocoa sector;
--Seek to extend the initiative to other cocoa-growing countries and regions based on the experience of the initial collaboration in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.