The National Confectioners Association (NCA) and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) have released policy principles calling for implementing a mandatory due diligence framework in the United States to address the risk of deforestation in the cocoa supply chain and support efforts to restore and conserve forests.
In a joint statement, the two organisations said providing supply chain transparency through due diligence frameworks is an important part of efforts between governments, farmers, NGOs and the private sector to continue restoring forests in regions where cocoa is a major agricultural commodity.
To end deforestation in the supply chain, we must work towards global harmonisation at each point -- John Downs, NCA president & CEO
John Downs, NCA president & CEO, said: “The commitments from companies, governments, and other key stakeholders are critically important as governments around the world contemplate deploying due diligence laws to increase supply chain transparency.
“To end deforestation in the supply chain, we must work towards global harmonisation at each point. The industry cannot do this alone; more work needs to be done with our partners on making a lasting, meaningful impact.”
The European Commission, along with individual governments, are currently debating initiatives to increase supply chain transparency and strengthen trade enforcement by establishing due diligence frameworks.
Action is needed now to preserve what is left of West Africa’s tropical rain forests -- Martin Short, president, WCF
Both the NCA and WCF said they encourage the inclusion of the principles they are announcing today specific to cocoa supply chains in any finalised due diligence frameworks adopted by lawmakers.
“Action is needed now to preserve what is left of West Africa’s tropical rain forests and mandatory due diligence legislation in the United States is an important tool in helping to achieve that,” said Martin Short, president of the World Cocoa Foundation.
“Poverty is the main cause of deforestation and child labour in the cocoa supply chain and so any legislation must ensure that the primary beneficiary is the farmer and his/her financial welfare.”
The cocoa and chocolate industry has already implemented various global initiatives in close partnership with cocoa-producing countries to end deforestation, restore forest areas, and promote stronger enforcement of national forest policies.
In 2017, the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and 35 leading cocoa and chocolate companies joined together to create the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) to work toward eliminating deforestation and restoring deforested land, and conserving existing forest areas.
CFI achievements so far include:
- The governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are improving national traceability systems to achieve traceability to the farm level. Companies are achieving 82% traceability in Ghana, and 74% traceability in Côte d’Ivoire in their direct cocoa supply chain.
- Companies are training 620,000 cocoa farmers on agricultural practices that allow for greater production using less land and improved livelihoods.
- The government of Côte d’Ivoire is adopting a national satellite system to monitor progress and proactively address new deforestation.
Additionally, the governments of Brazil, Colombia and Peru are preparing a plan for sustainable cocoa production in the Amazon and developing a consensus framework that would prevent future deforestation. Through both the Cocoa, Forests & Peace Initiative in Colombia and the CocoaActionBrazil programme, stakeholders are coming together to build programmes that are working toward ending deforestation and developing new farming practices.