Twelve of the world’s leading cocoa and chocolate companies, including Hershey and Nestlé, have agreed to an initiative to end deforestation in the global cocoa supply chain.
The agreement, concluded in London during a meeting hosted by Prince Charles, commits the companies to develop and present a joint public-private framework of action at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn in November. The initial focus of the initiative will be on top cocoa producers Ivory Coast and Ghana.
The companies included in the initiative are Barry Callebaut; Blommer Chocolate Company; Cargill; CEMOI; ECOM; Ferrero; The Hershey Company; Mars, Incorporated; Mondelēz International; Nestlé; Olam and Touton.
Also present at the meeting were ministers and senior government representatives of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, as well as France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.
“…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,” Prince Charles said at the meeting.
“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…”
John Sauven, Executive Director, 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 like Brazil’s savannah forests in the Cerrado,” said Sauven.
“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.”