The firms, which include Mars and Nestlé, have agreed to a statement of collective intent to work together, with an initial focus on Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the world’s leading producers of cocoa.
The agreement was reached during a meeting hosted by the Prince of Wales, and the participating companies will develop and present a joint public-private framework of action. This will address deforestation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP 23) meeting in Bonn this November.
The meeting was organised by World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), IDH-the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and the prince’s International Sustainability Unit (ISU).
It is the first of its kind covering the global cocoa supply chain. Senior executives from the 12 companies confirmed their commitment to develop measures to put a halt to deforestation and forest degradation. This includes more significant investments in more sustainable forms of landscape management and significant investments in programs to improve cocoa productivity for smallholder farmers working in the cocoa supply chain.
Speaking at the event, the prince said: “Tropical rainforests play an absolutely crucial role in climate change mitigation and adaptation, in ensuring sustainable livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people and in conserving biodiversity. The most powerful direct reason for action is that deforestation threatens to undermine the very resilience of the cocoa sector itself, and with it the livelihoods of the millions of smallholders who depend on it.
“I am heartened that companies are undertaking to work up, in full collaboration with host governments and civil society, a Joint Framework of Action to make good on the commitments announced today, in time for COP 23 in November.”