The governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and 35 leading cocoa and chocolate companies, representing 85% of global cocoa usage, have joined together in the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to end deforestation and restore forest areas. Their combined actions play a crucial role in sequestering carbon stocks in West African forests and addressing climate change, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. The Cocoa & Forests Initiative delivers on Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action) and 15 (Life on Land). The Cocoa & Forests Initiative is a public private partnership based on frameworks for action (Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana) and action plans for the private sector (Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana) and public sector (Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana) that spell out commitments to:
A. PROTECT AND RESTORE FORESTS,
B. PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE COCOA PRODUCTION AND FARMERS’ LIVELIHOODS,
C. ENGAGE COMMUNITIES AND BOOST SOCIAL INCLUSION.
The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF); IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative; and the Governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana drive the Cocoa & Forests Initiative. The Prince of Wales launched the Initiative in March 2017 and reviewed implementation progress in November 2018. Deforestation of tropical rainforests is a major issue in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which together produce nearly two-thirds of the world’s supply of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana respectively lost 25% and 8% of their humid primary forest between 2002-2019, with a significant portion of deforestation attributable to cocoa farming expansion. Cocoa provides crucial employment and income to smallholders in West Africa. An accelerated transition to sustainable livelihoods is essential for ensuring their long-term economic security. Thanks to public and private sector actions, notably through the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, this transition is under way, with recent reports (from Global Forest Watch and the United Nations) showing that the rate of primary forest loss was halved in both Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana from 2018 to 2019.