Mondelēz International continues to make moves to clean up its cocoa supply chains by teaming up with governments across West Africa in an effort to tackle the problem of deforestation. Through its Cocoa Life sustainable sourcing program, the snack company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Environment as part of the country’s REDD+ program and a Letter of Intent with the Forestry Commission of Ghana and the UN Development Program to establish a REDD+ partnership in Ghana.
Cocoa is highly susceptible to climate change and rising temperatures and reduced rainfall are putting the industry at risk. Tropical rainforests play a crucial role in mitigating climate change and adaptation, but unsustainable agricultural practices that drive deforestation are undermining the resilience of the sector. Public-private partnerships, such as Mondelēz International’s latest initiative, are critical in protecting valuable natural resources and safeguarding the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers.
Together, Cocoa Life and Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Environment will create a forest protection map, land use plan and tracking system to identify deforestation risks and opportunities to restore forest cover in the Nawa region, which borders Tai National Park, one of the last areas of primary rainforest in West Africa. Cocoa Life will also promote sustainable agricultural practices to enable farmers to improve productivity, adopt agro-forestry systems and free up land for other crops or reforestation.
“The Cocoa Life program in Ghana has contributed immensely to ongoing national efforts to make the cocoa sector economically and environmentally sustainable through the promotion of climate-smart approaches to cocoa farming,” said Yaw Kwakye, Head of the Climate Change Unit in Ghana’s Forestry Commission. “Spearheading the uptake of innovation and best practices in major cocoa communities in Ghana, the program remains a leader in advancing a new way of cocoa production that addresses deforestation and forest degradation.”
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“Cocoa farmers and community leaders in West Africa tell us climate change is already impacting their farms,” said Chris McGrath, Chief Well-Being, Sustainability and Public Affairs Officer at Mondelēz International. “With our investment in Cocoa Life, we have the capacity and the partnerships to help farmers become more resilient by adopting climate-smart solutions and protecting forests. These new agreements will amplify our existing work to protect the precious environment in cocoa-growing regions.”
Earlier this year, Mondelēz International joined cocoa giants Nestlé, Cargill, Mars and The Hershey Company at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 23rd Conference of the Parties to create a cooperative, multi-stakeholder framework of action to address deforestation and forest degradation. The collaborative agreed to place an initial focus on Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Mondelēz International’s most recent announcement is evidence of this framework being put into action.