National Confectioners Association joins with WCF to tackle cocoa-linked deforestation
A major environmental initiative has been put forward between the National Confectioners Association (NCA) and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) in forging policy principles to deliver mandatory due diligence in the US to help tackle deforestation within cocoa supply chains, reports Neill Barston.
As the two organisations’ explained, the move has also been intended to offer greater support for conservation of key forest areas that are critical to the industry, which plays an integral part in the confectionery sector.
Moreover, as they added, providing supply chain transparency through due diligence frameworks is an important part of efforts between governments, farmers, NGOs and the private sector to continue restoring forests in regions where cocoa is a major agricultural commodity.
Notably, the issue of deforestation has remained significantly in the spotlight in recent years, with studies revealing forested areas in core cocoa growing nations of Ghana and Ivory Coast being under renewed pressure from being further depleted amid the pandemic.
This was highlighted by recent studies from campaign group Mighty Earth, which asserted that forests were in the region, were in fact still being eroded at ‘near record’ levels according to its own satellite-mapped estimation of the situation on the ground.
Speaking on the issue, John Downs, NCA president & CEO, believed that there must be notable intensification of combined action to deliver lasting positive momentum.
He said: “The commitments from companies, governments, and other key stakeholders are critically important as governments around the world contemplate deploying due diligence laws to increase supply chain transparency,”
“To end deforestation in the supply chain, we must work towards global harmonisation at each point. The industry cannot do this alone; more work needs to be done with our partners on making a lasting, meaningful impact.”
Governments, including the European Commission, are currently debating initiatives to increase supply chain transparency and strengthen trade enforcement by establishing due diligence frameworks. NCA and WCF encourage the inclusion of the principles they are announcing today specific to cocoa supply chains in any finalised due diligence frameworks adopted by governments.
“Action is needed now to preserve what is left of West Africa’s tropical rain forests and mandatory due diligence legislation in the United States is an important tool in helping to achieve that,” said Martin Short, president of the World Cocoa Foundation. “Poverty is the main cause of deforestation and child labor in the cocoa supply chain and so any legislation must ensure that the primary beneficiary is the farmer and his/her financial welfare.”
The cocoa and chocolate industry is leading various initiatives throughout the world in close partnership with cocoa-producing countries to end deforestation, restore forest areas, and promote stronger enforcement of national forest policies.
In 2017, the governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana and 35 leading cocoa and chocolate companies joined together to work toward eliminating deforestation and restoring deforested land, and conserving existing forest areas. They created the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI), which has resulted in:
- The governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana are improving national traceability systems to achieve traceability to the farm level. Companies are achieving 82 percent traceability in Ghana, and 74 percent traceability in Côte d’Ivoire in their direct cocoa supply chain.
- Companies are training 620,000 cocoa farmers on agricultural practices that allow for greater production using less land and improved livelihoods.
- The government of Côte d’Ivoire is adopting a national satellite system to monitor progress and proactively address new deforestation.
Additionally, the governments of Brazil, Colombia and Peru are preparing a plan for sustainable cocoa production in the Amazon and developing a consensus framework that would prevent future deforestation. Through both the Cocoa, Forests & Peace Initiative in Colombia and the CocoaActionBrazil program, stakeholders are coming together to build programs that are working toward ending deforestation and developing new farming practices.