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Focus on Our Planet

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You may or may not be aware of a group formed back in 2017 called CFI or The International Cocoa and Forest Initative which is led by World Cocoa Foundation, IDH the Sustainable Trade Initiative and The Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit.  You may ask what has this got to do with me?  Well the pledges and goals of this group, are to help farmers and their communities in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire (who produce 70% of the world’s cocoa).  These are the farmers that produce the Cocoa that you enjoy in your chocolate drinks, your chocolate bars and any other product that contains cocoa (or cacao).  They were getting a raw deal but now the commitment of 33 producers (which make up 85% of the global cocoa usage) which include our NIVO Supply Members namely, Barry Callebaut, Mars Wrigley, Ferrero, Nestlé and Mondelez Europe – means that by the end of 2019 there will be full traceability of cocoa supplies in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.  .  This strengthens sustainability for African farming communities.  The groups’ policy themes are forest protection and restoration, sustainable production and farmer’s livelihoods, and community engagement and social inclusion. It will be underpinned by monitoring systems, legal enforcement and national regulatory structures.

On March 3rd a press release was issued – action plans to end deforestation in the cocoa sector and restore forest areas which include:-

  • No further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production.
  • They have pledged to eliminate illegal cocoa production in protected areas, in line with stronger enforcement of national forest policies and development of alternative livelihoods for affected farmers.
  • Government implementation of land use and socio-economic surveysin priority areas to collect baseline data for the design of new agro-forestry and conservation programs.
  • Development of farm mappingand traceability systems to ensure cocoa is sourced legally from farms outside of protected areas and monitor where cocoa from deforested areas could enter into the supply chain.
  • Development of new landscape corridorsto connect up fragmented forest reserves, and community-based landscape management to scale up conservation efforts through broader “jurisdictional approaches”.
  • Investments in sustainable agricultural intensification in order to “grow more cocoa on less land,” with a focus on on climate-smart production techniquesfarmer trainingincreased access to financing,new government operational guidelines and company investment for agroforestry.
  • Looking at incentive-based systems to promote environmentally sustainable agricultural practices, for instance through the launch of launch of payments for environmental servicescontracts directly with farmers.
  • Government land tenure reformsand tools that allow farmers to obtain official ownership of valuable non-cocoa trees on their farms and thereby encourage investment in agro-forestry.
  • Use of satellite monitoringto track illegal deforestation in hotspot areas and issue deforestation alerts.


On writing this each of the companies involved will publicly disclose its own individual initial plan in the next 3 weeks – therefore when you read this, you should be able to read the plans.  We will publish links on our social media channels and on the NIVO website.



Nestlé call their commitment ‘Nestlé Cocoa Plan’

  • Nestlé is fully committed to achieving deforestation-free commodities by 2020.
  • The Nestlé Cocoa & Forests Action Plan focuses on three pillars: forests protection and restoration; sustainable cocoa production and farmers’ livelihoods; and community engagement and social inclusion.

Significant activities under the Nestlé Cocoa & Forests Action Plan include:

  • Completion of the mapping of all 87,000 farms that are part of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan and strengthening of cocoa beans traceability systems by 2019;
  • Implementation of an exclusion process for farmers who grow cocoa in protected areas from Nestlé’s supply chain by 2020;
  • Sensitization of 38,000 farmers on forest law enforcement in place in both countries as well as the importance of protecting forests by 2022;
  • Distribution and planting of 2,8 million shade trees by 2022;
  • Carrying out two agroforestry pilots, a smart integration of trees into farming systems by 2022;
  • Training 70,000 farmers on good agricultural practices, including deployment of advanced technology and agricultural methods to increase productivity (more cocoa on less land);
  • Promotion of the financial inclusion of at least 8,700 farmers by supporting the creation of village savings and loans associations by 2022;
  • Distribution of 5,000 improved cook stoves by 2021 to reduce pressure on forests and improve community’s health.



Mondeléz’s commitment is called ‘Cocoa Life’

Highlights from our action plans include:

Protect: Understanding where, by whom and under what conditions cocoa is produced is critical for changing farmer behaviour. That is why we are one of the first chocolate companies to commit to map 100% of the farms in our supply chain by 2019.

Produce: We are making cocoa farming a business of choice by helping farmers grow more cocoa on less land. We know sustainable practices such as agroforestry – the growing of other trees among crops such as cocoa – will bring long-term benefits. But farmers tell me their immediate concern is income – so we’ve developed incentives to encourage them to adopt these practices. We are the first organization to introduce Payment for Environmental Services (PES) agreements to a cocoa farming context.

These agreements offer farmers financial incentives in return for planting non-cocoa trees on their farms, for protecting and renewing forest areas. This is an approach we’ve successfully piloted in Côte d’Ivoire, and will continue to expand our efforts to other countries and change farmer behaviour.

People: We know that deforestation can’t be addressed through cocoa farmers alone, so we involve the whole community. Our Cocoa Life program fundamentals such as the Community Development Committees and Community Action Plans ensure that everyone’s voices are heard and communities can lead their own development. We listen to and co-create with communities – encouraging ownership for forest protection plans. We were that successful that last time I was in Côte d’Ivoire, a village leader educated me on the need to protect forest and explained me our PES approach!

5th March 2019 – Press Release




Barry Callebaut’s commitment is called – ‘Forever Chocolate Plan’

We have committed to four bold targets that we expect to achieve by 2025 and that address the biggest sustainability challenges in the chocolate supply chain.

By 2025:

  • We will eradicate child labour from our supply chain

These targets are daunting and we might not have all the answers on how to achieve them. But we are confident that we will reach them, working together with all those who have chocolate close to their hearts.


Mars commitment

Major Accomplishments Toward Sustainable Cocoa

  • In 2009, we committed to buying 100 percent certified cocoa by 2020. We are currently the only major manufacturer to work with all three major certification organizations: UTZ, the Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade International.
  • In 2010, Mars signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Minister of Agriculture of Côte D’Ivoire, which allows us to work directly with the Ivorian government on productivity projects for farmers.
  • Mars collaborates with groups in the chocolate industry who share our view and are willing to work with us — including competitors. We have signed MoUs with cocoa suppliers Barry-Callebaut and ECOM to expand our programs in Côte d’Ivoire. And we congratulated Ferrero and Hershey on becoming the second and third major manufacturers, respectively, to commit to 100-percent-certified cocoa.
  • Mars has invested heavily in breakthrough science to benefit farmers, including mapping the genome and releasing the results into the public domain so they can be translated into more effective breeding and lead to healthier, more productive trees for farmers.
  • Mars is the world’s largest purchaser of certified cocoa, buying nearly 90,000 tons of cocoa in 2012 and exceeding our 20 percent global volume target.
  • We have 17 Cocoa Development Centers (CDCs) in Côte d’Ivoire, including four franchise CDCs built by our collaborators, ECOM and Barry-Callebaut. We have also selected the first five Cocoa Village Clinics operators in Soubré.



Ferrero’s commitment/pledge

At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn on 16th November 2017, the Ferrero Group committed to the Frameworks alongside other chocolate and cocoa companies, with the aim to improve forest protection and restoration, sustainable cocoa production and farmer livelihoods.

As part of these Frameworks in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the chocolate and cocoa industry will put in place verifiable monitoring systems for traceability from farm to the first purchase point for their own purchases of cocoa. The industry will also work with the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to ensure an effective national framework for traceability for all traders in the supply chain.

“Ferrero is committed to working on the challenges to end deforestation in the cocoa sector, as well as implement key principles and strategies that underpin socially and environmentally sustainable cocoa production” said Aldo Uva, Open Innovation and Chief Operation Officer Strategic Business Units of the Ferrero Group.
This latest commitment is an important milestone for Ferrero and evidence of its dedication to a sustainable and responsible cocoa supply chain. It follows the signing of the New York Declaration on Forests by the United Nations, which Ferrero committed to in 2014, and the Cocoa and Forests Initiative in March 2017.

At the same time, Ferrero remains dedicated to its ongoing work to map 100% of its cocoa supply chain to farm-gate level, as well as its partnerships to improve the livelihood of farmers and their communities with partners like Save the Children and Fairtrade & Cooperative Union ECOOKIM.

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, Ferrero continues to engage in certification programmes, institutional engagement and projects and partnerships, with the aim to safeguard the future of the cocoa sector, supporting and improving cocoa farming sustainability.

Read the full press release @


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