Nestlé releases latest progress on tackling cocoa-linked Ghana and Ivory Coast deforestation

Nestlé has reported progress against its target of ending deforestation in its cocoa supply chain in Ivory Coast and Ghana, with replanting measures highlighted as a key priority as part of its 2025 Cocoa Plan, writes Neill Barston.

As Confectionery Production has previously reported, the two West African nations have been particularly badly affected by industrial activity over the past sixty years, which has caused notable environmental impact.

Campaign groups including Mighty Earth noted that deforestation for the region has increased significantly in the past two decades – with cocoa farming being a key element of that – as recent studies confirm Ivory Coast lost 25% and Ghana 8% of their respective primary forest between 2002-2019, prompting major concern.

Consequently, in 2017, Nestlé joined the public-private Cocoa & Forests Initiative to help end deforestation and restore forests in the two nation. In March 2019, the company published a detailed action plan  to support these collective efforts.

Over the past three years, Nestlé has been working with the region, with its suppliers,  partners and the cocoa farming communities to scale up its actions. Despite the ongoing pandemic, which has further impacted certain activities such as mapping the farmers’ lands, farmers’ training, and cookstoves distribution, Nestlé made good progress last year.

Among the core achievements Nestlé has made so far, include mapping 85% of the farm boundaries of the 110 000 Nestlé Cocoa Plan farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast, and distributing  over 1.25 million native forest and local fruit trees  to make farms more climate-resilient and to diversify farmers’ incomes.

The company has also distributed over two million high-yielding cocoa trees in Ghana to restore cocoa-growing farms and boost productivity; and helped more than 10 000 people benefiting from financial support through village saving loan associations in the two West African nations.

Additional measures include delivering over 1,000 more efficient and less polluting cookstoves to reduce pressure on forests and help improve family health in Ivory Coast; and  engaging over 4 900 individuals in income-generating projects in Ivory Coast during 2020, as well as training for 10,000 farmers on the importance of forest protection and best agricultural practices.

As the company added, it recognised hat for a lasting and meaningful impact, in addition to addressing deforestation linked to cocoa, it needs to conserve and restore forests actively while promoting sustainable livelihoods and respecting human rights.

Last year, Nestlé partnered with the Ministry of Water and Forests of Côte d’Ivoire to restore the Cavally Forest reserve, a biodiversity hotspot under threat due to deforestation, and to enhance the resilience and livelihoods of local communities. Nestlé has kicked off the community consultations with 1 600 people in 66 cocoa villages. It is an important step to foster inclusiveness and ensure success. It will also take an active role in tracking the forest’s carbon stock to evaluate the influence of activities toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

All these initiatives contribute to Nestlé’s climate actions to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest. As part of this work, the company is deploying nature-based solutions, like forest conservation and restoration, to absorb more carbon, improve soil health, and enhance biodiversity..  – The full report can be seen here.

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