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Largest Cocoa Producing Countries Agree to Work with Hershey, Nestle, Mars & More

Governments of the two largest cocoa-producing countries – Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana – pledged themselves to “Frameworks for Action” with leading chocolate and cocoa companies at COP23 last week. The countries agreed to work with some of the biggest names in confectionery, including Mars Wrigley, Nestle and The Hershey Company, to end deforestation and restore forest areas in the cocoa supply chain.

Central to the frameworks is a commitment to not convert any more forest land for cocoa production. The companies and governments pledged to eliminate illegal cocoa production in national parks, in line with stronger enforcement of national forest policies and development of alternative livelihoods for affected farmers.

Those involved in the Framework for Action, which is aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement, say it will play a crucial role in sequestering carbon stocks and thereby addressing global and local climate change.

Ghana’s Minister of Land & Natural Resources released a statement committing to work with those involved in the Framework for Action to “end deforestation and promote forest protection and restoration in the cocoa supply chain in Ghana.”

Sustainable livelihoods and income diversification for cocoa farmers will be accelerated through food crop diversification, agricultural inter-cropping, development of mixed agroforestry systems, and other income generating activities designed to boost and diversify household income while protecting forests, the groups say.


The framework builds on a “statement of intent” announced in March, when Cargill, Hershey’s, Mars, Mondelez International and Nestlé, joined seven other major cocoa and chocolate companies to work with each other, alongside governments and NGOs, to end deforestation and forest degradation in the global cocoa supply chain. They decided at that time to initially focus on Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.


Deforestation in Cocoa Supply Chain

Deforestation represents a significant risk to confectionary companies: as much as $906 billion total annual turnover could be at risk because of deforestation, according to a CDP study based on data disclosed by 187 companies last year.

Some of that risk includes false claims of sustainable supply chains. Confectionery containing fairtrade or organic cocoa and sugar carry one of the highest risks of adulteration and mislabeling in the food and drink industry, according to Ecovia Intelligence. The supply chains for these items is particularly long and complex, making them a target for fraud.

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