Olam Cocoa confirms milestone actions for its global sustainability programmes

Olam Cocoa has confirmed considerable progress on its sustainability plans to assist with major issues facing the cocoa supply chain, as part of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative.

Andrew Brooks, the company’s head of sustainability, acknowledged issues still remained including farmers in producing countries including Ivory Coast and Ghana failing to gain sufficient increases in wages, as well as ongoing concerns over child labour and forests being degraded.

“Since we began our first cocoa sustainability programme in 2004, our approach to environmental stewardship has balanced an improvement in cocoa farmer livelihoods with vital protection of the natural world. In order to challenge ourselves to go even further, we launched Cocoa Compass in 2019, our sustainability ambition for the future of the cocoa sector. Aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, Cocoa Compass sets goals for our direct source supply chain across the three pillars of Focused on Farmers, Empowered to Grow and Investing in Nature,” explained Brooks speaking in a blog on its progress.”

He added that the company’s teams in both Ivory Coast and Ghana have worked in partnership with farming communities over the last 12 months to implement the commitments in our Cocoa & Forests Initiative (C&FI) Action Plans. From distributing over 1,735,233 cocoa seedlings to teaching agroforestry techniques to 78,624 farmers. Brooks said that this has also included GPS mapping our entire direct supply chain to providing microfinancing to help thousands of women in cocoa communities support their families.

“We know there is still much more to do, and we remain committed to playing our part. In the year ahead in Côte d’Ivoire we will donate a further 535,000 seedlings as part of agroforestry programmes across 193 cocoa farming cooperatives, support 200 hectares of off-farm forest restoration, and develop an action plan to protect 460,000 hectares in two classified forests, helping to secure a sustainable future for cocoa farming in Côte d’Ivoire. In Ghana we will donate an additional 300,000 seedlings as part of agroforestry programmes across 200 cocoa farming communities, to support 20,000 hectares of cocoa farms.

These are complex problems with no quick fix. They require long-term commitment and collective effort, which is why Olam Cocoa is a dedicated partner of C&FI. By bringing together industry and government, it is already making a tangible difference in both countries, and we are encouraged to share the progress we have made, along with our customer partners, in 2019.”

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