Cocoa companies pledge to end deforestation

Dive Brief:

  • Nestlé, Mars, Mondelez, Cargill and Olam have teamed up to stop deforestation in major cocoa-growing areas, according to Quartz.
  • The chocolate industry giants will begin their efforts in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The latter is believed to lose 2% of its forests each year, with half of this loss attributed to agricultural expansion. 
  • United Nations data shows global cocoa production increased by 275% between 1961 and 2014.

Dive Insight:

While there is no definitive plan in place, the very notion that these chocolate manufacturers have agreed to commit to helping with deforestation issues is a grand step forward.

For years, palm oil, beef, timber, and soybean producers have been targeted as the chief deforestation villains, but more recently, cocoa producers have been added to the list of larger contributors to the problem. 

The World Cocoa Foundation said it suspects land in West Africa and in the Amazon have both experienced large-scale logging to make way for commercial cocoa development.

By taking action, these companies are showing consumers that they are aware of the problem. Their activism will likely attract some environmentally minded customers. It will also keep these companies out of the line of fire from organizations fighting for rights of the trees and forests.

Pledges like this aren’t out of the ordinary. In 2014, major supply chain companies that work with refrigerated food products created the Global Food Cold Chain Council to decrease greenhouse gas emission.

In 2008, 21 of the United Kingdom's top food and drink manufacturers joined forces to cut down on water use and improve efficiency across all areas of their businesses. This past year, seven U.S. food and beverage companies committed to looking at their own water practices as well.

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Ingredients Corporate Sustainability
Top image credit: Wikimedia