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Industry and Governments Agree Plan to Reduce Deforestation from Cocoa Production

The Governments of Ghana and the Ivory Coast have released an action plan on deforestation in conjunction with thirty-three leading chocolate and cocoa companies, who account for around 85% of cocoa usage globally. There are three main areas of focus with the action plan: community engagement and social inclusion, farmers’ livelihoods, and sustainable cocoa production, forest protection and restoration.

With international focus on sustainability, environmental protection, and global warming, we are seeing increasing efforts being made to improve sustainability across various food commodities. Currently, the cocoa supply chain is not entirely transparent, and cocoa production happens illegally in protected areas, with deforestation occurring to clear space for plantations. Respectively, Ghana and the Ivory Coast have lost 13% and 17% of forest area to deforestation from 2001 to 2017.

The action plan pledges to not convert any more forest area for the purposes of cocoa production. Furthermore, there is a commitment to stopping all illegal cocoa production in protected areas. This is to be achieved through providing alternative sources of income for farmers, and strict enforcement of the protection of national forests.

Various new techniques and technologies are to be implemented to increase cocoa sustainability. These include the use of satellite monitoring and traceability systems. As with all initiatives of this type, costs are incurred. Whether these costs are going to affect producers, wholesalers, or consumers remains to be seen, but we would expect these actions to push cocoa pricing up.

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