More than four years after the high-profile launch of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI), Africa’s top cocoa-producing nations continue to see huge areas of forest being destroyed to make room for cocoa production.
This is the main finding of ‘Sweet Nothings: How the Chocolate Industry has Failed to Honor Promises to End Deforestation in Cocoa Supply Chains’ by Mighty Earth, the global advocacy organisation working to defend a living planet..
The new data analysis reveals that, even after the industry published action plans in 2019, Côte d’Ivoire lost 19,421 hectares (74.9 square miles) of forest within cocoa growing regions and Ghana lost 39,497 hectares (152.5 square miles).
This amounts to a combined area equivalent to the size of the cities of Madrid, Seoul or Chicago.
‘This report unwraps the unsavoury side of the cocoa industry and shows the urgent need to break the link between chocolate products and deforestation.
‘Chocolate companies like Nestlé, Hershey’s, Mondelez and Mars need to stop making empty promises and start working together with governments in the CFI to establish an open and effective joint deforestation monitoring mechanism this year.’
CEO of Mighty Earth
Deforestation for cocoa
Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are estimated to have lost 80% to 90% of their forested area over the last few decades, in large part to make way for cocoa farms.
Through a combination of satellite data analysis and on-the-ground field investigations, Mighty Earth has uncovered evidence of ongoing tropical forest clearance for cocoa.
This includes deforestation in designated protected areas that provide vital habitats for endangered wildlife – such as chimpanzees and pygmy hippos.
These forests are also critical carbon sinks, vital for slowing both the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.