Cémoi releases latest Cocoa and Forests Initiative progress report

The French-based Cémoi confectionery group has released its latest Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI) report, claiming progress against core sustainability targets centred on tackling key issues including deforestation, and community engagement schemes, writes Neill Barston.

As the company noted, its work on enhancing its commitment to improving conditions within its global sourcing supply chains was given a significant boost in 2015 with the creation fo its Transparence Cacao initiative in 2015, which set out to safeguard biodiversity of forested areas, as well as attempting to eradicate other major industry-linked issues including child labour which continues to persist within the sector.

Consequently, the company joined up with a total of 35 leading cocoa and chocolate companies including Mars, Mondelez, Hershey and Ferrero, arry Callebaut, Hershey, Nestle, Olam, Mondelez, Mars, Cemoi, Blommer Chocolate, Ferrero, General Mills, Godiva, Guittard, accounting for 85% of global cocoa use. Back in 2017, they agreed a framework for the CFI system to be supported by the governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana in driving progress, but as Confectionery Production has previously reported, combined factors of cocoa price fluctuation, the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as related issues of illegal mining and immigration also impacting on cocoa growing regions.

Despite such background issues, the company noted that it has made gains in its own activities through its Transparence Cacao scheme, which has centred on a core team of 50 people on the ground, working with cocoa communities in Ivory Coast to tackle deforestation. According to the business, since 2014, it has helped 3,500 farmers in raising awareness of climate change and offering agroforestry technique training, as well as providing 235,000 trees distributed for on-farm planting to assist with biodiversity of cocoa farms. It also achieved 152, 000 hectares of cocoa farms polygon mapped in 2022, delivering traceability and representing 100% of its Ivory Coast sourcing.

Other core attainments of its Transparence programme include a total of 8,211 individuals benefitting from good agricultural practices coaching, which has resulted in average yields increasing of those which it has engaged with by 40% since 2015. A total of 18% of farmers are now applying for agroforestry techniques, such as planting addition fruit on their farms to diversify income streams, which the company claimed had made a notable difference.

Patrick Collin, CEO of Cemoi, believed that the company was in fact making notable positive progress. Writing in his foreword to the report, he explained that the company is committed to its sustainability goals, and recognised that ‘poverty is a major challenge in many countries where we work’ noting that increasing cocoa prices and community development including schemes empowering women were of central importance.

He said: “For more than two decades, Cémoi has been committed to ending cocoa-related deforestation, and we are proud to present our new Cocoa and Forest Initiative report summarising the efforts we have made in Ivory Coast. Forest preservation is crucial for mitigating climate change, protecting biodiversity and preserving ecosystems. To address this challenge we have implemented a strong and diversified forest protection programme that includes plot mapping, and the promotion of sustainable farming methods, such as integrated pest management, agroforestry, and good agricultural practices. By providing training and support to farmers, we actively participate in the improvement of the management of their plantations, and their capability to create better added value from their work.”

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