World Cocoa Foundation set to unveil next phase of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Deforestation in cocoa growing areas in West Africa remains a problem, despite schemes to prevent the practice. Pic: WCF
Deforestation in cocoa growing areas in West Africa remains a problem, despite schemes to prevent the practice. Pic: WCF

Related tags WCF Cocoa Sustainability

CFI 2.0 expected to prioritise a national traceability system in direct and indirect supply chains to counter deforestation caused by cocoa growing in West Africa, when the announcement is made in May 2023.

The CFI is an agreement between leading cocoa and chocolate companies and the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana that was originally launched in 2017 at COP27 in Bonn, Germany, and facilitated by the WCF and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH).

At the time, it was recognised as an unprecedented collaboration between industry and governments to work together to eliminate deforestation and restore degraded forests in West Africa.

Writing in a blog post on the WCF website​, Ethan Budiansky, the organisation’s Senior Director of Environment, says: “Over the past five years, signatory companies have made significant investments and progress on CFI commitments, particularly on traceability, the promotion of cocoa agroforestry, and farmer training which they report annually. Both companies and the governments agree that for CFI 2.0 (2023-2025), we must accelerate and scale impact on the ground by focusing on building collective action and co-investment in priority landscapes in addition to supply-chain investments that were the focus of CFI 1.0 (2018-2022).”

He says the 36 CFI signatory companies have committed to developing new CFI action plans that will set their targets for 2023-2025 to be published in May 2023. 

These will align with the national implementation plans developed and adopted in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana in 2022.  The public disclosure of the company action plans in May is an important strategic and communication opportunity to bring to life the industry’s delivery of Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) commitments over the next three years and reinforce their commitment to achieving CFI goals​.”

Farmer poverty

The latest Cocoa Barometer report​, published last year, highlighted the fact that paying cocoa farmers a decent income has environmental benefits as well as respecting human rights, “The biggest environmental threat in the cocoa sector is poverty​,” said Antonie Fountain, one of the report’s authors.

In many areas of West Africa, farmers have no choice but to either sell their land for illegal mining or farm in protected areas to make more money.

Last month, ConfectioneryNews reported​ that over 55% of cocoa exports from Côte d’Ivoire are ‘untraceable’, according to a new study published in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters.

Budiansky says one of the priority actions of CFI 2.0 is to improve traceability to the farm level in order to understand exactly where cocoa is coming from and proactively address risks of new deforestation.

In 2021 alone, companies have mapped over 800,000 farms and have achieved 72% traceability in their direct supply chains and governments have put in place key policies and are developing national traceability systems to ensure that cocoa is traceable in the direct and indirect supply chains.

“The reality is that a lot of the new deforestation that is happening is taking place in the unregulated, untraceable indirect supply chain which is why we need to prioritize implementing a national traceability system, coupled with a national satellite monitoring system with an alert system.

“Moreover, in CFI 2.0, the companies and governments are collaborating in priority landscapes to conserve remaining forests and restore degraded area, thereby protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services, reducing and sequestering carbon, and establishing zero-deforestation landscapes​,” he says.

The CFI 2.0’s focus will also ensure there is alignment with the new EU Due Diligence legislation​, expected to come into force later this year.

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