The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), IDH - the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and The Prince’s International Sustainability Unit (ISU) organised the meeting in London last week, the first of its kind to address the issue of deforestation in the global cocoa supply chain.
Hosted by Prince Charles, the event commits the participating companies to develop and present a joint public-private framework of action at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn later this year. The plan will start with work in the world’s leading cocoa producing nations, Ghana and the Cote d’Ivoire. Many observers point to cocoa farming as a driving force behind rapid rates of deforestation in both countries.
In signing the agreement, the companies have acknowledged their role in destroying virgin forests. This recognition, and getting companies on the same page to draft an action plan, are important first steps.
Ministers from the two African nations were present at the meeting, along with government representatives from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and other European countries.
The Prince of Wales expressed his appreciation of the collaborative effort, saying, "Tropical rainforests play an absolutely crucial role in climate change mitigation and adaptation, in ensuring sustainable livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people and in conserving biodiversity.
The most powerful, direct reason for action is that deforestation threatens to undermine the very resilience of the cocoa sector itself, and with it the livelihoods of the millions of smallholders who depend on it. I am heartened that companies are undertaking to work up, in full collaboration with host governments and civil society, a Joint Framework of Action to make good on the commitments announced today."
WCF Chairman Barry Parkin hopes more companies will join the combined effort as momentum to tackle deforestation in the industry increases.
The twelve companies and participating governments will now engage in a planning and consultation process with farmer organisations, NGOs and other stakeholders to erect the joint framework. Senior representatives of Oxfam, Tropical Forest Alliance, the World Bank, UN Environment and Greenpeace, among others, were also at the event.
John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK welcomed the initiative.
“This initiative to stop cocoa production destroying forests must be warmly welcomed. The threats to biodiversity, the climate, and local people will not be stopped by environmentalists chasing industry from forest to forest or commodity to commodity. The solution that would protect forests in Indonesia or Côte d’Ivoire would also work in other threatened biomes…” said Sauven, as reported in Food and Beverage Industry News.
“It doesn’t matter whether the forest is being destroyed for cocoa, animal feed or palm oil. What matters is how industry responds. Business leaders must work together to stop their supply chains driving deforestation. This action by the cocoa industry brings us one step closer to that goal.”
- Find out where your chocolate comes from and support sustainably sourced products. For example, the Good Trade lists an array of Fairtrade, ethically and sustainably sourced brands: . The Fairtrade website has more information, especially in connecting the dots between deforestation, poverty and cocoa brands:
- While we all love some of the sweet stuff at times, try opting for alternatives if seeking a sugar fix, such as fruit, to cut down on cocoa consumption.
- Write to your favourite chocolate brands and ask them to end the destruction of rainforests involved in cocoa production. Momentum has started and the voices of consumers can propel the movement forward.
Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.