EAST HANOVER, N.J. — Cocoa Life, the sustainable cocoa sourcing program spearheaded by Mondelez International, East Hanover, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Côte d'Ivoire's Ministry of Environment as part of the country's REDD+ program to eliminate cocoa deforestation. It also has signed a letter of intent with the Forestry Commission of Ghana and the UN Development Programme to establish a REDD+ partnership in Ghana.
“Cocoa farmers and community leaders in West Africa tell us climate change is already impacting their farms,” said Chris McGrath, chief well-being, sustainability and public affairs officer at Mondelez International. “With our investment in Cocoa Life, we have the capacity and the partnerships to help farmers become more resilient by adopting climate-smart solutions and protecting forests. These new agreements will amplify our existing work to protect the precious environment in cocoa-growing regions.”
Under the MoU, Cocoa Life and Côte d'Ivoire’s Ministry of Environment will identify deforestation risks and opportunities to restore forest cover near Tai National Park by creating a forest protection map, land use plan and tracking system. Cocoa Life also is working to teach local cocoa farmers best practices to improve productivity. By adopting agro-forestry systems, farmers can free up land for other crops or reforestation.
“The Cocoa Life program in Ghana has contributed immensely to ongoing national efforts to make the cocoa sector economically and environmentally sustainable through the promotion of climate-smart approaches to cocoa farming,” said Yaw Kwakye, head of the climate change unit of Ghana's Forestry Commission. “Spearheading the uptake of innovation and best practices in major cocoa communities in Ghana, the program remains a leader in advancing a new way of cocoa production that addresses deforestation and forest degradation.”In addition to its work with Cocoa Life, Mondelez is a founding member of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative. The organization is comprised of 12 leading cocoa and chocolate companies working to end deforestation in the cocoa supply chain.