CFI reports progress toward ending deforestation in the cocoa sector

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Deforestation caused by cocoa production in Ghana has remained stable compared to previous years, the CFI reported.
Deforestation caused by cocoa production in Ghana has remained stable compared to previous years, the CFI reported.

Related tags CFI Cocoa Sustainability Côte d'ivoire Ghana

The Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI), a collaboration between governments and chocolate companies, has announced significant strides toward its mission of eradicating deforestation in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

Working with the governments of the two West African countries, the cooperative venture, entering its second phase in 2022, has laid the foundation for a sustainable and responsible cocoa industry with renewed strategies and ambitious multi-year plans extended until the close of 2025, the CFI claimed in its latest report.

‘As we reflect upon the achievements of 2022, it is evident that the CFI's resolute commitment to environmental sustainability in cocoa supply chains is yielding substantial results. In both Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, the 36 cocoa and chocolate company signatories to CFI collectively distributed a remarkable 12.4 million multi-purpose tree seedlings to cocoa producers in 2022 and 33.1 million since 2018. Additionally, payments for environmental services were disbursed to 23,155 cocoa producers in Côte d’Ivoire and 9,092 cocoa producers in Ghana, underlining the tangible benefits flowing back to the farming communities.’ The report outlined.


The CFI said one noteworthy milestone is the significant enhancement in traceability achieved by participating companies. In 2022, they reported that 85% of their direct cocoa supply is now traceable down to the plot level. This represents an 18% increase in direct supply traceability compared to 2021, demonstrating the ongoing commitment of the CFI partners to transparency and sustainability.

The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), which helped to facilitate the programme, said it recognises the urgent need to accelerate and scale impact towards zero-deforestation. “Our organisation wholeheartedly supports the CFI and is pleased that both private sector and governments who have now recommitted to CFI 2.0 with collective action and co-investment a priority for the 2022-2025 period. This commitment aligns with the goals of the Paris Agreement, EU Deforestation Regulation, and other global frameworks aimed at curbing deforestation emissions and mitigating the climate crisis​,” said Chris Vincent, President of the WCF.

Analyses based on Ghana Forest Compliance data have revealed that out of the 17,676 hectares of forest lost in CFI's six priority areas in Ghana, 13.2% was attributed to cocoa production. Importantly, deforestation caused by cocoa production in Ghana remained stable compared to previous years.

 “As we all acknowledge deforestation and forest degradation as a common enemy to sustainable forest management, we must remain resolute under the CFI umbrella and invest resources to ensure that the principal objective of halting deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain is achieved in the long term​,” said Samuel A Jinapor, Ghana’s Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR).

In Cote d’Ivoire, deforestation trends exhibited volatility, the CFI reported. Although satellite monitoring tool IMAGES registered a decrease in deforestation in 2021, in 2022 it witnessed an unfortunate increase, resulting in the loss of more than 60,000 hectares of forest. A comprehensive analysis is required to determine the exact contribution of cocoa production to this deforestation. The Ministry of Water and Forests (MINEF) deepened its collaboration with CFI companies in 2022, showcasing the commitment of public and private stakeholders to the initiative. The Conseil du Café-Cacao in 2022 embarked on a mission to plant 4 million trees as part of its broader goal to plant 60 million trees by 2028. Simultaneously, the Green Ghana project, led by the MLNR, oversaw the distribution of 26.6 million trees.

Laurent Tchagba, Cote d’Ivoire’s Minister of Water and Forests, said: “The CFI action plan for the 2022-2025 period aims to consolidate the achievements of the pilot phase and to increase the impact of the actions initiated. Particular emphasis will be placed on the operationalization of the National Cocoa Traceability System and the National Forest Monitoring and Deforestation Early Warning System. These instruments are necessary to meet the requirements of the European Union Deforestation Regulation. Signatories to the Joint Framework for Action should therefore intensify the mobilisation of the financial resources required for the successful implementation of CFI​.”

Landscape approaches

Moving forward, the CFI said landscape approaches will be central to CFI's interventions, aligning with the ambition to foster collective action. In Ghana, partners in the Asunafo landscape have collaboratively developed a land use management plan. In Cote d’Ivoire, Yapo-Abbé and Bossématié have been identified as priority landscapes for focused efforts. These initiatives closely align with the respective government policies and programmes.

Across both countries, national traceability systems entered the piloting phase and drafted the national guidelines for the African Regional Standard for Sustainable Cocoa. These policy developments, combined with the EU Deforestation Regulation, are poised to bolster the voluntary commitments of CFI, driving further progress towards a shared vision of a deforestation-free cocoa industry.

In its report, the CFI said it remains steadfast in its dedication to fostering sustainable practices in the cocoa sector. ‘With collaborative efforts between governments, industry stakeholders, and local communities, we are poised to make lasting changes in preserving our precious forests and ensuring the sustainable longevity of cocoa production.’

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