Chocolate

Unpacking Deforestation and Climate Change within Chocolate Scorecard 

Dr Stephanie Perkiss 

Stephanie Perkiss is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting at the University of Wollongong and explores social and environmental accounting and accountability in her research. 

This blog post is one of a series linked to the publication of the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard company sustainability rankings. To view the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard please go to https://beslaveryfree.com/chocolate 

When biting into a crunchy chocolate candy, many consumers don’t realise where the cocoa ingredients in their favourite treats come from, nor the costs that their production can have for nature and the climate.  

West Africa produces 75% of the world’s cocoa, with Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana producing the lion’s share. In the last 60 years, these two African countries have lost around 94% and 80% of their forests respectively, with approximately one-third of that forest loss to make way for growing cocoa. Research published by Mighty Earth revealed that, in the period between January 2019 and January 2022 alone, Côte d’Ivoire lost 19,421 hectares (194.21 km2) of forest within cocoa-growing regions, while Ghana lost 39,497 hectares (394.97 km2)  in cocoa regions. This amounts to a combined area equivalent to the size of the cities of Madrid, Seoul, or Chicago.  

Many of the remaining tropical forests under threat in these two countries are within legally protected areas, providing critical habitat to endangered species like chimpanzees and pygmy hippos. They also contain vast stores of carbon, which if released could exacerbate global climate change. Forests absorb carbon, and when they die, they release carbon and no longer serve as a sink.  

Amongst other indicators, the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard focuses on the extent to which individual companies are taking concrete steps to ensure that forests are not being cut down to provide them with cocoa. We analysed the responses to deforestation and climate change in the following areas based on best-in-class guidance (see AFI box)  

  1. Application of no-deforestation policy to global sourcing, and percentage of cocoa purchased through a deforestation-free monitoring system;
  2. Percentage of cocoa sourced from deforested areas since 2010 when satellite monitoring systems became widely available;
  3. Percentage of cocoa sourced from actors who have been deforesting since the launch of the CFI in 2017;
  4. Detailed plans for how to respond to evidence of suppliers sourcing cocoa from recently deforested land; and 
  5. 5. Policy to achieve net-zero carbon emissions company-wide; or using science-based targets.

Chocolate Scorecard survey results 

The highest score of the deforestation and climate change theme went to Alter Eco and Beyond Good. There were several others in the ‘green’ or top scoring category: Chocolats Halba, ECOM, Ferrero, Nestlé, and Olam. All these companies have undertaken efforts that put them at the top of the pack, relative to their peers. The lowest scores for deforestation and climate change went to Daito Cacao, Glico and Morinaga. These companies did, however, respond to the survey and have endeavoured to engage on deforestation and climate. This sets them apart from General Mills, Starbucks, and Storck who did not participate in the survey – and who appear (based on a review of their publicly available material) to be worryingly behind on many sustainability metrics including those for their cocoa when it comes to forests/climate – remain at the rock bottom.  

Grading for the deforestation and climate change theme was tough. For many questions we were looking for specific and verifiable data – usually figures and percentages with links so they can be publicly verified. While many of our companies were great at narrative accounts, some key figures were missing.  

We will start with what was done not so well: 

  • Satellite monitoring – We would like to see more companies purchasing cocoa from locations that are verified deforestation-free, using a satellite monitoring system. Even better, if companies started using the available technology that forecasts (quite accurately) where deforestation will happen, this could stop deforestation in their cocoa supply chains before it takes place. While many companies are starting to do monitoring, imagine how good it would be if all companies reached 100%, and then actually used the monitoring to curb forest destruction in their supply chains!  
  • Deforestation mapping - We gave special attention to deforestation and purchasing from the two largest cocoa producing countries, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Many companies could not provide details on cocoa they had sourced from areas deforested since 2010 (at which point, accurate and free satellite mapping of forests was easily accessible to all); or again after November 2017 (at which point Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) was signed, wherein all major companies and the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana pledged to end deforestation and start mapping). We appreciate that this data can feel confusing at first, especially if companies have only recently begun mapping. But, without mapping and understanding one’s deforestation, pledges will remain empty words.  
  • Verifiability - In the survey, we awarded points where respondents provided reference to their data/figures, which can be independently checked. In several instances, citations and URLs were not provided and grades were not given, such as for a few companies who failed to provide evidence of a time-bound plan for working with suppliers and smallholders to map farms using GPS.  
  • Transparency is important - Public transparency in relation to deforestation and climate change is important, so we have urged participating companies to keep publicly sharing their sustainability initiatives and achievements. This allows civil society to follow the old adage: trust, but verify.  

Now, onto what was done well:  

  • Monitoring systems - Most of the companies we surveyed have some form of monitoring system. However, most of these remain incomplete or even deeply flawed. For example, satellite mapping is rarely connected to an alert system that trigger field investigations in the places identified as having deforestation. It also seems almost no company is using deforestation forecasting, although this now exists for Côte d’Ivoire and for many geographies with a variety of tools. There were some standouts: Beyond Good used both satellite imagery as well as on-the-ground monitoring and went further than its peers. Beyond Good established a high-quality Deforestation Dashboard as a deforestation monitoring system.  

Source: Beyond Good’s mapping tool. 

  • Collaboration to eradicate deforestation - Many of the participating companies have joined the ‘Cocoa & Forest Initiative’ (CFI) and/or Initiatives for Sustainable Cocoa (ISCOs). ISCOs refer to public-private platforms for sustainable cocoa now existing in a number of countries including Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, France and Japan. Most ISCOs include a focus on deforestation in cocoa, and help shape collaborative efforts to eradicate deforestation from consumer countries, as CFI does in producer countries. While it is great to see a lot of companies joining CFI and ISCOs, we are finding similar themes - that there is still a lot to making these collaborative efforts truly work. Joining is only one step. Collaborating for robust group efforts to promote change, is key. Merely joining does not obviate a need for companies to continue their individual work on deforestation and climate change, nor their need to invest in conservation and restoration.  
  • Deforestation-free policies - It was great to see that most of our participants had gone beyond CFIs to embrace a global deforestation-free cocoa policy, or even a cross-commodity deforestation-free policy (for some or all regions they source from). It shows that companies in this industry are trying to take seriously the issues of deforestation and climate change in their supply chains. 
  • Public grievance systems and noncompliance policies - Most Scorecard participants have established both public grievance mechanisms, and noncompliance policies. In most cases these are not deforestation-specific, but cover the entire supply chain, including social and environmental indicators. However, full points on this front were only given when public grievance mechanisms were easily accessible and user-friendly, and where non-compliance policies establish clear consequences for deforestation, including suspension.  
  • Net-Zero carbon emission - We see major positive change with some key cocoa/chocolate companies embracing the SBTi’s Corporate Net-Zero Standard. Points were awarded for joining SBTi’s race to zero. While some of the commitments show a low-ambition target of 2050, others have better timetables focused on 2030. In future grading of deforestation and climate change, we will be looking specifically at the actions companies are taking to reach these targets and whether companies have signed up for SBTi.  

A note on CDP, which some cocoa/chocolate companies flagged. We think CDP is providing a valuable service in promoting transparency for investors and nudging companies to be more explicit with the types of data and analysis they report. However, there is uneven public access to CDP disclosures. Best practice in the cocoa space could mean that companies opt to submit forest disclosures to CDP, and also post a copy of their disclosures to their company website so it can be verified.  

A tip for next year’s Chocolate Scorecard! 

Despite progress, some companies are still at risk from sourcing cocoa associated with legal and illegal deforestation. Legislation has been proposed by the European Union to regulate deforestation in high-risk commodities such as cocoa, and similar regulation is also proposed for other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, United States of America, New York State, the State of California, and more. It is worth noting that many chocolate companies have spoken out courageously to support due diligence and deforestation-free regulations in recent years. A public statement supporting regulation in your home country or regions where you sell chocolate will help gain you a better score in future years.  

There are many different roads that lead to better policy and action on deforestation and climate change. For example, Ferrero scored a ‘Green’ because it has now joined others in purchasing 100% certified volumes, and this comes on top of its considerable company-specific efforts around deforestation and climate. However, taking a different path, Mars scored well with only about half of its cocoa being certified, but performing far better when it comes to a serious company-wide, commodity-wide approach to slashing overall emissions with a time-bound implementation plan.  

Another pathway to points was, for example, clear criteria on what it takes to suspend a non-compliant supplier caught with deforestation problems (as opposed to wishy washy criteria or no criteria). Yet another pathway consists of rapid and largescale improvement, with the key to points being speed and scale of change. So, we tried to recognize that what is “good” in the case of deforestation and climate change can be very different. We’re agonistic so long as companies are on a meaningful road, and not a bridge to nowhere. 

Overall, we see lots of potential for continued growth in policy, monitoring, and action in relation to deforestation and climate change, but this is not a bad place to be, at least for the higher-performing companies in this category!  


Communiqué de presse: Travail des enfants? Empoisonnement aux pesticides? Dans quelle mesure votre chocolat de Pâques est-il éthique?

Ce communiqué de presse est interdit à la diffusion jusqu'au 7 avril, 12:01 temps de l’Est (GMT – 4)

Le rapport complet peut être consulté au lien : en Français
Méthodologie: en Anglais

Contact : Miles Grant, [email protected], (+1) 703-864-9599 (m)

L’évaluation du chocolat de Pâques 2022 classe Starbucks parmi les "œufs cassés"

La coalition encourage l'industrie à rompre tous liens entre produits chocolatés, déforestation, travail des enfants et dégradation de l'environnement.

7 avril 2022 - Que contient réellement notre chocolat de Pâques ? Une coalition mondiale de défenseurs de l'environnement et de la justice sociale publie aujourd'hui The Chocolate Scorecard ou évaluation du chocolat, une enquête annuelle qui examine les progrès, ou l'absence de progrès, de l'industrie du chocolat dans la résolution des problèmes sociaux et environnementaux découlant des pratiques de l'industrie du cacao et des produits chocolatés qu'elle vend. La coalition de 29 membres est composée, entre autres, de Be Slavery Free, Mighty Earth et National Wildlife Federation.

L’évaluation du chocolat se concentre sur les chaînes de production et d'approvisionnement qui commencent en Afrique de l'Ouest, où environ 75 % du cacao mondial est produit. Si de nombreux acteurs du secteur relèvent le défi, d’autres, en revanche, continuent d'ignorer l’exigence des consommateurs d’avoir un chocolat exempt de travail des enfants, de pauvreté et de déforestation. Starbucks, General Mills et Storck ont reçu l'"œuf cassé" pour leur refus de fournir des informations pour les besoins de l’évaluation.

"Il est décevant de voir des entreprises comme Starbucks, qui prétendent être leader en matière de durabilité et de lutte contre la crise climatique, refuser de répondre à des questions directes sur leurs performances en matière de durabilité du cacao. Il est inadmissible que, à une époque de transparence croissante, Starbucks refuse d'être franc avec ses clients", déclare Glenn Hurowitz, fondateur et PDG de Mighty Earth. Et il poursuit : "Mighty Earth continuera à exiger la transparence et une véritable durabilité de la chaîne d'approvisionnement, tant pour notre climat que pour les communautés locales qui produisent ces matières premières essentielles."

Storck a reçu l'"Œuf pourri" pour la pire note globale, les chercheurs relevant le manque de transparence des politiques et pratiques dans sa chaîne d'approvisionnement en cacao, ainsi qu’à la lumière des plaintes de la société civile concernant l'entreprise.

Cette année, Ferrero rejoint la liste des bons œufs ("Good Eggs") qui comporte également Hershey's, Unilever et Ritter, dont le cacao est certifié à près de 100 % par Rainforest Alliance ou Fairtrade.

"Bien que la certification ne soit pas parfaite, elle constitue souvent une première étape positive dans le parcours de durabilité d'une entreprise", a déclaré Fuzz Kitto, de Be Slavery Free, l'organisation caritative basée en Australie qui a coordonné l’évaluation du chocolat 2022. "Si les entreprises progressent dans l'amélioration de la durabilité de leurs chaînes d'approvisionnement en chocolat, nous, leurs clients et leurs investisseurs, aimerions en être informés."

Les mentions spéciales pour le leadership sont attribuées à :

  • Alter Eco, Tony's Chocolonely et Whittaker's pour avoir continué à être parmi les meilleurs de leur catégorie.
  • Nestlé pour avoir pris d'importantes mesures en matière d'innovation afin d'améliorer le revenu des agriculteurs grâce à des paiements supplémentaires et pour s'être engagée à planter 2,8 millions d'arbres d'ombrage d'ici à la fin 2022.
  • Ferrero pour avoir rejoint d'autres entreprises dont le cacao est en grande majorité certifié, comme Hershey's, Unilever, Fazer et quelques autres.

Le tableau d’évaluation du chocolat est une mesure de responsabilité qui évalue les entreprises sur les six questions de durabilité les plus urgentes auxquelles est confrontée l'industrie du chocolat : la diligence raisonnable en matière de droits de l'homme, la transparence et la traçabilité, la déforestation et le changement climatique, l'agroforesterie, les politiques de revenu de subsistance et le travail des enfants. Alors que les chrétiens du monde entier célèbrent Pâques en dégustant des produits chocolatés, la coalition invite les consommateurs à utiliser le tableau de bord pour effectuer des achats plus intelligents et plus durables qui récompensent le bon comportement des entreprises plutôt que de renforcer les pratiques irresponsables.

Une précédente analyse des données (data analysis) de Mighty Earth a révélé que, plus de quatre ans après le lancement très médiatisé de l'Initiative Cacao et Forêts (CFI), les principales nations africaines productrices de cacao continuent de voir d'énormes zones de forêts précieuses détruites en Afrique de l'Ouest pour faire place à la production de cacao. La perte de ces précieuses forêts est souvent motivée par le fait que les petits exploitants locaux ne tirent pas de revenu suffisant de leur cacao, ce qui les oblige à pratiquer une agriculture extensive.

"Le temps des petits projets de compagnie est révolu et nous commençons maintenant à voir de nombreuses entreprises prendre des engagements majeurs pour lutter contre la pauvreté des agriculteurs et améliorer les moyens de subsistance des cacaoculteurs", soutient Sam Mawutor, du College of Earth Oceans and Atmospheric Sciences de l'Oregon State University. "Au minimum, cela montre que les marques de chocolat sont conscientes de ce problème, ce qui est un progrès. Cependant, étant donné que la pauvreté des ménages d'agriculteurs entraîne le travail des enfants, l'utilisation de produits chimiques et la conversion des forêts, il est nécessaire que les entreprises améliorent leur collaboration pour la mise en œuvre de solutions coordonnées à large échelle."

À propos de Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth (www.mightyearth.org) est une organisation mondiale de défense d'une planète vivante.  Notre objectif est de conserver la moitié de la Terre pour la nature et de garantir un climat propice à la vie.  Nous sommes résolument engagés à l’obtention d'impact et aspirons à être l'organisation de défense de l'environnement la plus efficace au monde. Notre équipe a réussi à transformer les choses en persuadant les principales industries de réduire considérablement la déforestation et la pollution climatique tout au long de leurs chaînes d'approvisionnement mondiales en huile de palme, caoutchouc, cacao et aliments pour animaux, tout en améliorant les moyens de subsistance des communautés autochtones et locales des régions tropicales de la planète.

Pour les demandes de presse générales, veuillez contacter Miles Grant, [email protected], (+1) 703-864-9599 (m)

Pour toute demande de la presse locale, des photos et des citations d'experts, veuillez contactez les personnes suivantes :

  • Australie Fuzz Kitto (heure de l’est australien) +61 (0) 407 931 115 [email protected] (Anglais)
  • Europe de l’Est Kadri Org (heure d’été Europe de l’Est) Tél : +372 56 489 584 [email protected] (Estonien, Anglais)
  • Europe de l’Ouest Esta Steyn (heure d’Europe centrale) +31 6 3457 1595 [email protected](hollandais, Afrikaans)
  • Japon Roger Smith (heure de l’Est étatsunien) [email protected] (Anglais, japonais), Hajime Enomoto (heure normale du Japon), [email protected] (japonais)
  • Royaume Uni Dominic Murphy (heure britannique normale) +44 (0)7943 498239 [email protected](Anglais)
  • Etats-Unis Etelle Higonnet (heure de l’Est étatsunien) +1 202 848 7792. [email protected] (Anglais, français, espagnole, portugais, italien, allemand)
    Afrique de l’Ouest Fofana Mansah Souleymane (heure d’Afrique de l’Ouest) +225 22 42 21 42 fsouleyma[email protected] (Anglais, français)

2022 Easter Chocolate Scorecard Lists Starbucks Among “Broken Eggs”

To download the full Scorecard click here:
English

Japanese
French


Coalition encourages industry to break the links between chocolate products, deforestation, child labor, and environmental degradation

April 7, 2022 – What’s really going into our Easter chocolate? A global coalition of environmental and social justice advocates today released The Chocolate Scorecard, an annual survey that examines the chocolate industry’s progress, or lack thereof, in addressing social and environmental concerns stemming from cocoa industry practices and the chocolate products they sell. The 29-member coalition includes Be Slavery Free, Mighty Earth, and National Wildlife Federation, among others.

The Chocolate Scorecard focuses on the production and supply chains that start in West Africa, where around 75% of the world’s cocoa is produced. Many industry players are rising to the challenge, but others continue to ignore consumer demand for chocolate that’s free of child labor, poverty, deforestation. General Mills, Starbucks, and Storck received the researchers’ “Broken Egg” for their refusal to provide information for The Chocolate Scorecard, while Storck was given an additional "Rotten Egg" for ongoing lack of transparency about its policies and practices in their cocoa supply chain, and in light of civil society complaints about the company.

“It’s disappointing to see companies like Starbucks, which claim to be a leader on sustainability and confronting the climate crisis, refuse to answer straightforward questions about their performance on cocoa sustainability. It’s a real shame in an era of growing transparency that Starbucks refuses to be straight with its customers,” said Glenn Hurowitz, founder and CEO of Mighty Earth. “Mighty Earth will continue to demand transparency and true supply chain sustainability, both for our climate and for the local communities that produce these key commodities.”

This year Ferrero joins the list of “Good Eggs” that includes Hershey’s, Unilever and Ritter, whose cocoa is close to 100% certified by the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade.

“While certification is not perfect, it is often a positive first step in a company’s sustainability journey,” said Fuzz Kitto, of Be Slavery Free, the Australia-based charity which coordinated The Chocolate Scorecard. “If companies are making progress on increasing the sustainability of their chocolate supply chains then we and their customers and investors would like to hear about it.”

Special mentions for leadership go to:

  • Previous Scorecard “Good Eggs” Alter Eco, Tony’s Chocolonely, and Whittaker‘s for continuing to be among the best in class overall
  • Nestlé for taking huge steps in innovation for addressing farmers’ income with additional payments and with their commitment to plant 2.8 million shade trees by the end of 2022
  • Ferrero for now joining other companies whose cocoa is overwhelmingly certified such as Hershey’s, Unilever, Fazer and others.

The Scorecard is an accountability measure that rates companies on the six most pressing sustainability issues facing the chocolate industry: human rights due diligence; transparency and traceability; deforestation and climate change; agroforestry; living income policies; and child labor. As Christians around the world celebrate Easter by enjoying chocolate products, the coalition urges consumers to use the Scorecard to make smarter, more sustainable purchases that reward good business behavior rather than reinforcing irresponsible practices.

Previous Mighty Earth data analysis has revealed that 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 precious forest being destroyed in West Africa to make room for cocoa production. The loss of these precious forests is often driven by the fact that small farmers in the region do not make a living income from their cocoa, forcing them to expand.

"We are now starting to see many companies make commitments to address farmer poverty and improve cocoa farming livelihoods,” said Sam Mawutor, Policy and Advocacy at Mighty Earth. “This shows chocolate brands are increasingly aware of the problem, which is progress. However, since farmer household poverty drives child labor, chemical use, and forest conversion, we need to see improved collaboration amongst companies at a landscape level. The time for small pet projects is over”.

To download the full report click here: Full Report
To read the methodology used to create the company scores you can find out more here:
Methodology

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth (www.mightyearth.org) is a global advocacy organization working to defend a living planet.  Our goal is to protect half of Earth for Nature and secure a climate that allows life to flourish.  We are obsessed with impact and aspire to be the most effective environmental advocacy organization in the world. Our team has achieved transformative change by persuading leading industries to dramatically reduce deforestation and  climate pollution throughout their global supply chains in palm oil, rubber, cocoa, and animal feed while improving livelihoods for Indigenous and local communities across the tropics.


Press Contacts:
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Une nouvelle étude approfondie révèle que les principaux fabricants de chocolat n’ont pas tenu leur promesse de mettre fin à la déforestation

Le rapport Petites douceurs révèle que le cacao contribue encore à la destruction d’aires protégées et de l’habitat des chimpanzés et des éléphants, malgré les promesses faites il y a quatre ans par le secteur. 

Lire le rapport complet [FR]
Read the full report [EN]

14 février 2022 — Plus de quatre ans après le lancement très médiatisé de l’Initiative Cacao et Forêts (ICF), les principaux pays africains producteurs de cacao sont toujours confrontés à la destruction de vastes zones forestières au profit des plantations de cacao, indique une nouvelle analyse de données réalisée par Mighty Earth. Petites douceurs: Le secteur du chocolat n’a pas tenu sa promesse de mettre fin à la déforestation dans ses chaînes d’approvisionnement en cacao révèle que, même après la publication des plans de mise en œuvre par le secteur, la Côte d’Ivoire a perdu 19 421 hectares de forêt au sein des régions productrices de cacao, et le Ghana 39 497 hectares. En additionnant ces chiffres, on obtient une superficie équivalente à celle des villes de Madrid, Séoul ou Chicago. 

« Ce rapport dévoile une dimension peu ragoûtante du secteur du cacao et montre qu’il est urgent de rompre le lien unissant les produits chocolatés à la déforestation », a déclaré Glenn Hurowitz, directeur général de Mighty Earth, une organisation mondiale de plaidoyer qui œuvre pour la défense d’une planète vivante. « Les fabricants de chocolat tels que Nestlé, Hershey’s, Mondelēz et Mars doivent cesser de faire de vaines promesses et collaborer dès maintenant avec les gouvernements signataires de l’ICF pour mettre en place cette année un mécanisme conjoint ouvert et efficace de surveillance de la déforestation. »

Grâce à l’analyse de données satellitaires complétées par des enquêtes sur le terrain, Mighty Earth a pu démontrer que le défrichement des forêts tropicales pour la culture du cacao se poursuit. Il s’agit notamment de la déforestation dans des zones dites protégées qui constituent des habitats vitaux pour la faune sauvage menacée, notamment pour les chimpanzés et les hippopotames nains. Ces forêts sont également des puits de carbone indispensables pour freiner la crise climatique et la perte de biodiversité.

Les principales conclusions du rapport sont les suivantes :

  • Quatre ans et demi après l’engagement pris dans le cadre de l’ICF par les fabricants de chocolat et les gouvernements d’interdire la création de nouvelles exploitations de cacao, les taux de déforestation restent dans l’ensemble proches d’un niveau record ;
  • Dans ces régions productrices de cacao, la Côte d’Ivoire a perdu 19 421 hectares (ha) de forêts, soit 2 % de ses forêts, depuis que le plan d’action de l’ICF a été publié en janvier 2019, tandis que le Ghana a perdu une surface conséquente de 39 497 ha de forêts, avec un taux de déforestation vertigineux de 3,9 %. En combinant la superficie perdue de forêt tropicale pour ces deux pays, on obtiendrait une superficie équivalente à celle des villes de Madrid, Séoul ou Chicago.
  • Au Ghana, la perte de couvert forestier enregistrée en 2020 montrait qu’elle était 370 % plus élevée depuis janvier 2019 qu’elle ne l’a été entre 2001 et 2010, et 150 % plus importante que la perte de couvert forestier moyenne entre 2011 et 2019 ;
  • Pour la Côte d’Ivoire, la perte moyenne du couvert forestier a été 230 % plus élevée depuis janvier 2019 qu’elle ne l’a été entre 2001 et 2017, et 340 % plus élevée que la perte moyenne enregistrée au cours des années 2000 ;
  • La déforestation se poursuit dans l’ensemble des aires protégées de Côte d’Ivoire et du Ghana, et l’analyse des données satellitaires et les observations sur le terrain en Côte d’Ivoire menées par Mighty Earth révèlent que l’expansion de la culture du cacao joue un rôle majeur dans cet empiètement.

« Cette catastrophe peut être parfaitement évitée et aurait dû l’être depuis longtemps déjà. Pendant ce temps, les forêts continuent de disparaître, la faune sauvage meurt et les communautés souffrent », a déclaré Souleymane Fofana, coordinateur général du Regroupement des acteurs ivoiriens des droits humains (RAIDH). « La filière cacao dispose des mêmes outils et de bien plus de ressources que Mighty Earth pour surveiller et prévenir la déforestation, mais le manque de volonté et de transparence reste le principal obstacle aux avancées. »

Les principales conclusions du rapport sont les suivantes :

  • Quatre ans et demi après l’engagement pris dans le cadre de l’ICF par les fabricants de chocolat et les gouvernements d’interdire la création de nouvelles exploitations de cacao, les taux de déforestation restent dans l’ensemble proches d’un niveau record ;
  • Dans ces régions productrices de cacao, la Côte d’Ivoire a perdu 19 421 hectares (ha) de forêts, soit 2 % de ses forêts, depuis que le plan d’action de l’ICF a été publié en janvier 2019, tandis que le Ghana a perdu une surface conséquente de 39 497 ha de forêts, avec un taux de déforestation vertigineux de 3,9 %. En combinant la superficie perdue de forêt tropicale pour ces deux pays, on obtiendrait une superficie équivalente à celle des villes de Madrid, Séoul ou Chicago.
  • Au Ghana, la perte de couvert forestier enregistrée en 2020 montrait qu’elle était 370 % plus élevée depuis janvier 2019 qu’elle ne l’a été entre 2001 et 2010, et 150 % plus importante que la perte de couvert forestier moyenne entre 2011 et 2019 ;
  • Pour la Côte d’Ivoire, la perte moyenne du couvert forestier a été 230 % plus élevée depuis janvier 2019 qu’elle ne l’a été entre 2001 et 2017, et 340 % plus élevée que la perte moyenne enregistrée au cours des années 2000 ;
  • La déforestation se poursuit dans l’ensemble des aires protégées de Côte d’Ivoire et du Ghana, et l’analyse des données satellitaires et les observations sur le terrain en Côte d’Ivoire menées par Mighty Earth révèlent que l’expansion de la culture du cacao joue un rôle majeur dans cet empiètement.

« Cette catastrophe peut être parfaitement évitée et aurait dû l’être depuis longtemps déjà. Pendant ce temps, les forêts continuent de disparaître, la faune sauvage meurt et les communautés souffrent », a déclaré Souleymane Fofana, coordinateur général du Regroupement des acteurs ivoiriens des droits humains (RAIDH). « La filière cacao dispose des mêmes outils et de bien plus de ressources que Mighty Earth pour surveiller et prévenir la déforestation, mais le manque de volonté et de transparence reste le principal obstacle aux avancées. »

Le rapport contient notamment les recommandations suivantes :

  • En 2022, un mécanisme commun ouvert et transparent de surveillance de la déforestation doit être mis en place par les fabricants de chocolat, les négociants en cacao et les gouvernements en mettant leurs informations sur les chaînes d’approvisionnement en cacao en commun et en les associant aux données d’imagerie satellitaire. Un tel mécanisme permettrait d’agir collectivement pour empêcher l’empiètement des forêts par l’expansion des plantations de cacao, et de cibler les initiatives visant à améliorer les moyens de subsistance des petits exploitants au Ghana et en Côte d’Ivoire.
  • L’ICF doit rendre compte publiquement des progrès accomplis dans la réduction de la déforestation au Ghana et en Côte d’Ivoire, afin d’empêcher toute nouvelle déforestation pour le cacao d’ici deux ans  ;
  • Les principaux chocolatiers et négociants en cacao devraient participer activement à la restauration des forêts dégradées et de la biodiversité au Ghana et en Côte d’Ivoire. Ils doivent s’engager à s’approvisionner d’ici 2025 en cacao issu de l’agroforesterie à hauteur d’au moins 50 %, et collaborer avec les coopératives de cacao et les agences gouvernementales pour aider les petits cultivateurs à passer des monocultures de cacao à des systèmes agricoles diversifiés.
  • Le gouvernement de la Côte d’Ivoire doit valider rapidement les limites des aires protégées et stopper toute nouvelle déforestation en associant, de manière transparente, les communautés et les organisations de la société civile à leur suivi ; 
  • Au Ghana, la Commission gouvernementale forestière (Forestry Commission) et le Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) doivent s’assurer que le nouveau système de gestion du cacao (CMS, Cocoa Management System), destiné à retracer la chaîne d’approvisionnement en cacao, est conçu de manière transparente, afin que les parties prenantes puissent avoir toute confiance dans les données qui seront produites ;
  • L’Union européenne, le Japon et les États-Unis doivent adopter une législation obligeant les entreprises à effectuer des contrôles de vigilance approfondis pour prévenir l’importation de cacao ou de produits dérivés du cacao liés à la déforestation sur leurs marchés respectifs.

« L’Initiative Cacao et Forêts a beaucoup de potentiel, mais elle n’est pas encore à la hauteur de ses ambitions. Elle a beaucoup promis, mais n’a pas atteint ses objectifs. Pour les entreprises du secteur du cacao et du chocolat, la protection de l’environnement est un devoir, sous peine de perdre à jamais la denrée dont elles dépendent. La situation actuelle n’est pas tenable », a déclaré Obed Owusu-Addai, responsable de campagne pour EcoCare Ghana.

Contact : Miles Grant, [email protected], +1 703-864-9599 (mobile)


Major Chocolate Companies Failed In Pledge to End Deforestation, Comprehensive New Study Shows

‘Sweet Nothings’ report shows cocoa still driving destruction of protected areas, chimpanzee and elephant habitat loss four years after industry pledge.

Read the full report [EN]
Lire le rapport complet [FR]

February 14, 2022 – 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, according to a new data analysis by Mighty Earth. Sweet Nothings: How the Chocolate Industry has Failed to Honor Promises to End Deforestation in Cocoa Supply Chains reveals that, even after the industry published action plans in 2019, Côte d'Ivoire lost 19,421 hectares – 74.9 sq. mi. – of forest within cocoa growing regions and Ghana lost 39,497 hectares – 152.5 sq. mi. This amounts to a combined area equivalent to the size of the city of Madrid/Seoul/Chicago. 

“This report unwraps the unsavory side of the cocoa industry and shows the urgent need to break the link between chocolate products and deforestation,” said Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of Mighty Earth, the global advocacy organization working to defend a living planet. “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”.

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.

Among the key findings of the report:

  • Four and half years after chocolate companies and governments committed in the CFI to a ban on establishing any new cocoa farms, overall levels of deforestation remain near record highs.
  • Within cocoa growing regions, Côte d'Ivoire lost 19,421 hectares (ha) – 74.9 sq. mi. – (2%) of its forest since the CFI action plans were published in January 2019, whilst Ghana has lost an astonishing 39,497 ha – 152.5 sq. mi. – of forest with a staggeringly high rate of deforestation of 3.9%. This amounts to a combined area of tropical forest lost in the two countries equivalent to an area the size of the cities of Madrid, Seoul, or Chicago.
  • In Ghana, 2020 tree cover loss countrywide was 370% higher since January 2019 than it was between 2001-2010, and 150% higher than the average tree cover loss between 2011-2019.
  • Average countrywide tree cover loss in Côte d'Ivoire has been 230% higher in the period since January 2019 than it was between 2001-2017, and 340% higher than the average loss during the 2000s.
  • Deforestation is still found throughout protected areas in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, with satellite data analysis and observations from Mighty Earth’s field investigation in Côte d'Ivoire revealing that cocoa expansion is playing a major role in this encroachment.

“All of this devastation is entirely preventable and should have been addressed long ago. Meanwhile, forests continue to disappear, endangered species die, and communities suffer,” said Souleymane Fofana, General Coordinator of the Ivorian Human Rights organizations (RAIDH). “The cocoa industry has the same tools and far more resources than Mighty Earth to track and prevent deforestation, but limited willpower and lack of transparency and accountability continue to be the biggest roadblocks to progress.”

Among the report’s recommendations:

  • Chocolate companies, cocoa traders, and governments must pool information about cocoa supply chains, and couple this with satellite data imagery to establish an open and transparent joint deforestation monitoring mechanism in 2022. Such a mechanism would provide the means for collective action to prevent forest encroachment from cocoa expansion, as well as to target initiatives aimed at improving livelihoods for smallholder farmers in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.
  • The CFI should publicly report progress in reducing deforestation in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, with the aim of achieving zero new deforestation for cocoa within two years.
  • Leading chocolate companies and cocoa traders should play an active role in the restoration of degraded forests and biodiversity in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. They should commit to sourcing at least 50% of their cocoa from agroforestry by 2025, and work with cocoa cooperatives and government agencies to help smallholder growers manage the transition from cocoa monocultures to diversified farming systems.
  • The Government of Côte d'Ivoire should work to quickly confirm the boundaries of protected areas and stop any new deforestation by involving, in a transparent manner, communities and civil society organizations in their monitoring. 
  • In Ghana, the Government’s Forestry Commission, together with the Ghana Cocoa Board, need to ensure that the emerging Cocoa Management System (CMS), which is intended to trace the cocoa supply chain, is designed in a transparent manner, so that stakeholders will have trust and confidence in the data that it will produce.
  • Authorities in the European Union, Japan, and the United States should introduce legislation that requires companies to conduct thorough due diligence checks to prevent cocoa or cocoa-derived products linked to deforestation from being imported into their consumer markets.

“The Cocoa and Forests Initiative has lots of potential but currently is not living up to it. It promised so much but is failing to deliver. Cocoa and chocolate companies have a duty to protect the environment or risk losing the commodity they depend on forever because the current situation is unsustainable,” said Obed Owusu-Addai, Managing Campaigner at EcoCare Ghana.

Contact: Miles Grant, [email protected], 703-864-9599 (mobile)


新調査報告発表:大手チョコレート企業、森林破壊停止の誓約を実行せず

新調査報告「口先だけの甘い言葉:チョコレート業界は、カカオのサプライチェーンにおける森林破壊を終わらせるための約束を果たしていない」

〜業界の誓約から4年経った今も、カカオ栽培によって、保護区の破壊、チンパンジーやゾウの生息地消失などを含む森林減少の悪化が明らかに〜

 2022年2月14日 – マイティー・アースが新たに実施したデータ分析調査により、「カカオと森林イニシアティブ(CFI)」(注1)開始から4年以上が経過した今も、アフリカの主要なカカオ生産国では、カカオ栽培のために広範囲にわたる森林破壊が続いていることが明らかになった。新調査報告「口先だけの甘い言葉:チョコレート業界は、カカオのサプライチェーンにおける森林破壊を終わらせるための約束を果たしていない」によると、業界が2019年に行動計画を発表した後の3年間で、カカオ生産地域における森林消失面積はコートジボワールで19,421ヘクタール、ガーナで39,497ヘクタールに及んでいる。この合計面積は、東京23区の面積に匹敵する。

 命ある地球の保護活動を行うグローバルなアドボカシー組織マイティー・アースのCEO、グレン・ホロウィッツ(Glenn Hurowitz)はこう述べる。「このレポートは、カカオ産業の望ましくない面を明らかにし、チョコレート製品と森林破壊の関係を直ちに断ち切る必要があることを示しています。ネスレ、ハーシーズ、モンデリーズ、マース、不二製油、明治などのチョコレート企業は、口先だけの約束をやめ、CFI参加各国政府との協力のもと、森林破壊に対するオープンかつ効果的な共同モニタリングメカニズムを今年中に確立しなければなりません。このような破壊はすべて完全に防げるものであり、ずっと前に手を打つべきでした。手をこまねいているうちに、森林は消え続け、野生生物は死んでゆき、地域のコミュニティは苦境に陥っているのです」

レポートが示した重要ポイント

  • CFIにおいて、チョコレート企業と各国政府が、森林減少を引き起こすカカオ農園の新規開発禁止への取り組みを約束してから4年半が経つが、全体的に見て森林破壊の規模は依然として過去最高水準に近いままである。
  • CFIが2019年1月に行動計画を発表した後も、カカオ生産地域における森林消失面積はコートジボワールで19,421ヘクタール、ガーナではなんと39,497ヘクタールにも及んでおり、森林消失率は9%という驚くべき水準になっている。2019年から2021年末までの3年間に2カ国で失われた熱帯林の面積を合わせると、東京23区の面積に匹敵する。
  • ガーナの場合、2019年1月~2020年末の森林消失面積は、2001年~2010年の7倍、2011年~2019年の1.5倍に達した。
  • コートジボワール全体では、2019年1月以降の平均森林消失面積は、2001年~2017年の3倍、2000年代平均の3.4倍に達した。
  • コートジボワールとガーナの保護区全域では今も森林破壊が進んでいることが分かっており、衛星データの解析やマイティー・アースによるコートジボワールでの現地調査の結果、カカオ栽培地拡大がこのような森林侵食の主な要因であることが明らかになっている。

 マイティー・アース西アフリカ代表のアムールライ・トゥーレ(Amourlaye Toure)はこう述べる。「カカオ栽培のための森林破壊はいまだに続いており、保護区内でさえ憂慮すべき規模で進行しています。『カカオと森林イニシアティブ(CFI)』が森林破壊を特定できず、目標を達成できないことにより、地域コミュニティの安定は失われ、絶滅危惧種野生生物は危険にさらされ、チョコレート産業の二酸化炭素排出量は増加しています。カカオ業界はマイティー・アースと同じ森林破壊追跡・防止ツールを持っており、財源に至ってはマイティー・アースを超えるものを持っています。しかし、業界の意志が限定的なものにとどまり、透明性・説明責任が欠如していることが、今も最大の障害となって進展を阻んでいるのです」

レポートで示された提言

  • チョコレート企業、カカオ貿易業者、各国政府は、カカオのサプライチェーン関連情報を共有し、これを衛星データ画像と組み合わせて、オープンで透明性の高い森林破壊の共同モニタリングメカニズムを2022年中に確立する必要がある。このような仕組みは、カカオ栽培地拡大による森林侵食を防ぐため、また、ガーナとコートジボワールの小規模農家の生活改善に向けての取組みを行うための集団的アクションの手段となるだろう。
  • CFIは、カカオ栽培のための新たな森林破壊を2年以内にゼロにすることを目標とし、ガーナとコートジボワールにおける森林破壊削減の進捗状況に関する報告を公開すべきである。
  • 大手チョコレート企業やカカオ貿易業者は、ガーナやコートジボワールの傷ついた森林や生物多様性の回復に積極的な役割を果たすべきである。2025年までにカカオの少なくとも50%を、アグロフォレストリーを行う栽培者から調達することを約束し、カカオ協同組合や各国政府機関との協力のもと、小規模農家のカカオ単一栽培から多様化された農業システムへの転換を支援する必要がある。
  • コートジボワール政府は、早急に保護区の境界を確認し、コミュニティや市民社会組織を透明な形でモニタリングに参加させることにより、新たな森林破壊の阻止に努めるべきである。
  • 欧州連合、日本、米国の当局は、森林破壊につながるカカオまたはカカオ由来製品の消費者市場への輸入を防ぐため、徹底したデューデリジェンス・チェックを企業に義務付ける法律を導入するべきである。

 熱帯林行動ネットワーク運営委員の中司喬之氏は、「大手チョコレート企業は、トレーサビリティの確認を行った上で、全てのサプライヤーについて企業グループレベルで、NDPE(森林減少禁止、泥炭地開発禁止、搾取禁止)方針の採用と実施を求め、森林減少への対処を進めていくことが必要です。ガーナからのカカオ関連産品の輸出先として日本は第二位、日本側から見た輸入先として7割以上を占めており、ガーナでの森林破壊に対しては重要な責任を負っていると言えます。今すぐにでも取り組むべき課題です」と述べている。

マイティー・アースは、衛星データ解析と現地調査を組み合わせ、カカオ栽培のために熱帯林伐採が進行している証拠を示した。失われた熱帯林には、チンパンジーやコビトカバなどの絶滅危惧種野生動物の生息に不可欠な指定保護区内の森林も含まれる。これらの森林はまた重要な炭素吸収源であり、気候変動と生物多様性の喪失の進行を遅らせるのに不可欠である。

(注1)2017年、イギリスのチャールズ皇太子の呼びかけで、世界の主要なチョコレート企業35社(日本からは株式会社明治と不二製油株式会社が参加)と世界カカオ基金、コートジボワール、ガーナ両政府などが参加し、カカオ生産による森林破壊を抑止するために「カカオと森林イニシアチブ(The Cocoa and Forests Initiative, CFI)」の設立を発表した。CFIは、2018年に国家実施計画(コートジボワールガーナ)、さらに2019年には企業向け行動計画(コートジボワールガーナ)を発表した。行動計画には「カカオセクターでの森林減少や森林劣化を新たに引き起こす活動を禁止し防止することを約束する」との文言も含まれている。

マイティー・アースは、2017年にチョコレート産業と森林減少の関係を示したレポート「CHOCOLATE’S DARK SECRET」を作成し、世界的に大きな注目を受けた。こうした批判を受けて、CFIは設立された。

マイティー・アースについて

マイティー・アース (www.mightyearth.org)は、命ある地球の保護活動を行うグローバルなアドボカシー組織です。自然のために地球の半分を守り、命が繁栄できる気候を確保することを目標としています。  当組織のチームは、世界に張り巡らされたパーム油、ゴム、カカオ、飼料などのサプライチェーンにおいて森林破壊と気候変動をもたらす汚染を大幅に削減するよう大手企業を説得し、熱帯地方の先住民族や地域住民の生活向上を図ることにより、変革を実現してきました。

ご連絡:[email protected]


U.S. Cocoa Imports: Secretive mega-traders get the lion’s share. 

Mighty Earth and Stand.Earth partnered together to undertake preliminary cocoa supply chain research to improve our understanding of how cocoa enters the U.S.—the biggest chocolate market in the world. Though the results confirm a lot we know already, some new revelations are stunning. Our findings uncovered a damning story of the action of a few dominant traders, the secrecy in cocoa/chocolate imports, an international web of opaque cocoa-laundering, and a cover-up of corporate value captured from poor producer countries.

These results are from the analysis of vessel tracking and American vessel manifest data from January to October 2020, using various algorithms to clarify the data. We focused on American imports of cocoa from four major cocoa-producing countries: Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, and Peru.

Patterns of exploiting cocoa farmers continue: Our research exposes the extent to which cocoa-producing countries are losing substantial revenue by not exporting directly to consumers, and by exporting raw materials rather than processed cocoa products. This is due to post-colonial models of exploitation of the Global South by predatory Western corporations, unfair trade deals dictated by former colonial powers, and a failure of governance, commitment, and development by cocoa-producing governments. Large volumes of Ivorian and Ghanaian cocoa beans are sold to the U.S. via Belgium and Spain, meaning that revenue and profits that could go to farmers are diverted to foreign traders instead.

This also extends to grinding capacity ownership. Cote d’Ivoire's grinding capacity is considerably large—16 percent in 2019—but much of its installed grinding capacity is owned by foreign companies. Although grinding cocoa beans brings more value to the country, capital flight drains most of this revenue from the country. Ghana mostly sells cocoa beans, but comparatively, gains more from the trade due to its less liberalized market where the regulators action reduces the negative market shocks.

The EU exports cocoa into the U.S.: 43 percent of cocoa beans from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire pass through Europe—specifically Spain and Belgium—often re-exported without any value addition. This tells us that whatever the EU decides on cocoa sustainability will have a massive impact on American cocoa trade policy, and vice versa.

Other cocoa laundering countries - Panama and Columbia: Large amounts of Peruvian and Ecuadorian cocoa funnel through Panama and Colombia into the U.S. Yet Panama has never made any sustainable cocoa commitments, has no traceability or transparency goals for cocoa, and is not yet appropriately scrutinized as a major cocoa player. The sustainability of Panama's cocoa industry must be re-examined, and a “Cocoa & Forests Initiative” (CFI) for Panama would be a good start. Colombia has already taken steps with its own “Cocoa, Forests and Peace Initiative” to reform its sector. Our research points to one clear conclusion: this initiative should now cover all cocoa that passes through, not just what Colombians grow.

The irony of traceability: Traceability sheds light on where cocoa comes from to address problems at the farm level, but it also needs to show where cocoa products go. Besides the murkiness of traceability or re-exported cocoa from Europe, there are widespread omissions and normalized errors in American import data. What should be seen in vessel manifest data is often missing or difficult to trace, because shipper and consignee information is removed. Our research shows such a pattern and practice of obfuscation that we must now ask, "What are the importers hiding?" In 2020, 40 million kilos of untraceable chocolate products entered the U.S. The U.S. government must revise its systems to ensure that cocoa becomes traceable to the companies involved in the actual transaction, not just forwarding companies. This means that American data on imports and exports must dramatically improve, and chocolate companies should be obligated by the U.S. authorities to disclose their entire global supply chains at both ends, not just their suppliers.

The EU is far behind on importer-side traceability: While U.S. customs manifest data needs to greatly improve, the EU has a long way to go. Currently, the data ends at the EU ports. The EU’s opaque systems of customs manifest data facilitate concealment of crimes, thus there is no way to trace cocoa from producer countries to processors or manufacturers. This lack of transparency is unacceptable for a major cocoa consumer block like Europe. The EU must urgently reform its customs data to bring it in line with best practices on commodity transparency. France has recently set a new model with reforms for transparency around customs data, which the rest of the EU ought to emulate.

The trader's trick to hide: While beans get sold in vast bulk shipments through integrated supply chains like Olam and Cargill, finished chocolate goes from a wide variety of manufacturers to what seems at first glance to be a wide variety of consignees. A closer look reveals, however, that these are often different iterations of the company name. For instance, we found 35 versions of the name of the world’s largest cocoa trader called ‘Barry Callebaut’ — breaking up the volume across a variety of businesses so that the full size of its monopolies or value of its trade is hidden. After delving into all the versions of names, our research clearly shows how the biggest cocoa traders—Barry Callebaut, Olam, ECOM, Sucden, and Cargill—are running the show. We were even able to pierce through the fog to show how ECOM is the biggest trader of cocoa beans into the U.S., though it masquerades amongst other things behind the name Atlantic Specialty Coffee. If Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Olam, Sucden, ECOM, and other cocoa trading companies are serious about traceability, they should solve this data challenge of nomenclature immediately, with or without American regulatory action. America's largest grinder, Blommer, is conspicuously absent from the consignee space and delivers little or no data on its website to guarantee traceability. If they have nothing to hide, they should publish their names properly on all their transactions–no more games.

 Where do we go: Our research underscores how the Biden administration must act decisively to advance cocoa sustainability and bring together chaotic, siloed, and disparate engagement various government agencies. The U.S. should also seriously consider establishing an "ISCO." The multi-stakeholder platform could bring together the appropriate federal government agencies, NGOs, chocolate manufactures, and cocoa traders together to strengthen the cocoa industry's traceability, transparency, and sustainability. Legislatively, regulation to restrict imported deforestation is long overdue for chocolate and other commodities. And beyond passing legislation, the U.S. must regularly engage with cocoa-producing countries to improve governance and strengthen the voices of farmers and local civil society in cocoa discussions.


Open Letter on Racial Injustice in the Cocoa Sector

To mark Juneteenth 2021, NGOs across the Global North and South published this open letter, calling on all of us to stamp out residual slavery within the chocolate industry and throughout our food production systems. To join us, sign on here...

 

Open letter about Racial Injustice in the Cocoa Sector Update

It's Juneteenth, but these American companies are still driving slavery

Juneteenth marks the date in 1865 where an estimated 250,000 enslaved people in Texas were freed, marking the official end of slavery in the Confederacy-- two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and six months before the 13th Amendment to the Constitution finally banned slavery nationwide.

As much as Juneteenth is worthy of celebration, liberation is not complete. In our work, the most egregious and direct manifestation of that delayed justice is that American companies and institutions are continuing to drive slavery today at scale. The Emancipation Proclamation may have made it to Texas in 1865, but some companies are acting today as if it still doesn’t apply in their corporate suites. And on Wednesday, those companies got a free pass from the Supreme Court to continue the profit from slavery.  

There is probably no company that better symbolizes continued complicity with slavery than Cargill, America’s largest privately-held company and the world’s largest agribusiness.  Cargill isn’t a household name, but it’s bigger than even Koch industries, and sits astride much of America and the world’s food system. 

Cargill sells the chicken, beef, palm oil, corn, grain, cocoa and many other raw ingredients that’s found in much of what’s sold in supermarkets and restaurants. You may not know it, but you’re probably eating a Cargill product today. For instance, it’s actually Cargill that makes chicken McNuggets and Big Mac patties - and then just sends them to McDonald’s to be warmed up. The company has a terrible and well-documented record of driving destruction of forests, causing outsized climate pollution, and displacing Indigenous communities. 

While the company has many rotten elements, one of the worst is its role in the chocolate industry. Cargill’s agents go out into cocoa-growing regions in West Africa to purchase cocoa and finance expansion of cocoa operations, and then sell that cocoa to large chocolate companies like Nestle, Hershey’s and Mars.

The cocoa sector is notorious for its widespread use of child labor and other abuses-- so much so that in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, groups from both cocoa producing and consuming countries signed an open letter on racial injustice in the cocoa sector.  It is estimated that 1.56 million children work in the cocoa industry; many are forced to use dangerous tools and chemicals and carry enormous weights, in direct violation of international labor standards, the UN convention on child labor, and domestic laws.

While a majority of the child laborers in the cocoa industry are living and working on their parents’ farms, at least 16,000 children, and perhaps many more, are victims of forced labor-- a euphemism for slavery, working on West African cocoa farms far from home. The Washington Post recently did a series of exposés about the extent of this problem and how Cargill and other companies had continued purchases linked to forced child labor for decades after pledging to work to end it. 

Indeed, most cocoa farmers in West Africa earn less than one dollar per day as they grow the raw ingredients that go into Kit-Kats, Haagen-Dazs ice cream, and Nesquik chocolate milk. Living in some of the worst poverty in the world, Cargill and others finance the use of toxic chemicals that create health risks, while overall poverty contributes to related problems such as low life expectancy rates, illiteracy, and malnutrition. Farmers face tremendous obstacles in sending their children to school. 

It’s worth saying today that all of these children are Black and the chocolate companies are run largely by comfortable American and European executives who seem unable to gird themselves to take sufficient action to end their companies’ continued connection to Black slavery more than 150 years after the Civil War.

As a result, a group of formerly enslaved children from Mali sued Cargill and Nestle for buying cocoa from the owners of the farms where they worked under brutal conditions. The plaintiffs provided evidence that Cargill and Nestle representatives had visited the farms, and that the companies had provided financial and technical assistance in exchange for exclusive access to their crops. The plaintiffs sued under the Alien Tort Act which can be used to bring legal accountability for human rights violations and other breaches of international law. 

Unfortunately, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs needed to provide more information to establish their standing to sue, giving Cargill and Nestle at least temporary impunity for their complicity in conditions of slavery. However, the plaintiffs are planning to refile their suit in ways that meet the standards laid out by the Court, though any successful legal action is likely to take years more - cold comfort for the formerly enslaved children.

That doesn’t mean these companies can’t be held accountable. For those looking to go beyond symbolic action on this Juneteenth, consider ways to bring pressure to bear on these companies. Send a message to chocolate companies like Nestle, Hershey’s and Mars asking them to end their connections to slavery. Consider how companies are performing on slavery and child labor when you purchase chocolate - our buying guide is a way to do that. And contact your legislators to urge them to ban import of cocoa and other agricultural goods connected to egregious human rights and environmental abuses.  

So today, celebrate Juneteenth for the progress it brought, but continue the fight against American companies’ ongoing contributions to Black slavery.


Ivorian Ministry of Forest Pledges Progress on Joint Monitoring Program

In November 2017, the cocoa industry and the Government of Côte d'Ivoire pledged to halt deforestation caused by cocoa and "adopt a transparent satellite monitoring system whose results are independently validated and which provides an early warning of deforestation, quickly supplemented by field verification. This system [was] to be made available to the public immediately after the signing of the Common Framework for Action (CFA) so that all stakeholders can measure and monitor progress towards the overall deforestation target". Three years later, this has still not been achieved. 
 
It is in that context that Mighty Earth welcomes with great satisfaction the Ivorian Minister of Water and Forests' announcement, seconded by the President of the World Cocoa Foundation, of the rapid implementation of the long promised joint monitoring of deforestation and remedial measures. This announcement was made on February 25 during the last Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI) steering committee in which the two senior officials took part, along with 66 other participants. Joint monitoring is one of the CFI’s major commitments, and Mighty Earth has constantly called for its effective implementation. The launch of the Cocoa Accountability Map in 2020, recently updated in February 2021, is precisely an attempt to remedy this shortcoming.

Standing up for forests and farmers

Mighty Earth applauds the government of Cote d’Ivoire for seeking to better protect its forests and for its willingness to move towards a greener future, putting behind the bitter past of losing 85 percent of its forests since 1990. Likewise, we welcome positive elements in the new Ivorian forest code, recently adopted by the Ivorian National Assembly.

However—we are gravely concerned by the implications of mass evictions from parks and protected areas.  Incentivized by decades of the $100-billion-a-year chocolate industry turning a bind eye to forest destruction and funding illegal cocoa production in these areas, 1.5 - 2 million people thought to be living illegally in the parks and protected areas of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana

In its declaration, the Ministre des Eaux et Forêts was clear that protected areas will be emptied of their inhabitants.

We call urgently for the recognition and respect of the human rights of these  inhabitants. These people have rights and must be protected from abuses.

Published below is our recent Joint Human Rights Watch-Mighty Earth Cote d'Ivoire Dispatch regarding the urgent need to guarantee the human rights of illegal cocoa farmers. Also below is  a 2018 open letter, co-signed by Mighty Earth, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Le Regroupement des Acteurs Ivoiriens des Droits de l'Homme(RAIDH), and Fern, regarding egregious abuses of illegal cocoa farmers inside the Ivorian national park of Marahoue.

This previously unpublished letter presents the findings of a joint investigation to the government of Cote d’Ivoire.  Following unsuccessful negotiations with the government, led by senior environmental advisor to the president, Dr. Mamadou Fofana, authorities declared that the government of Cote d’Ivoire would refuse to hold any perpetrators accountable or to compensate victims in any way. Given the risks that farmers now face, the Marahoue case has renewed relevance, and so we publish it today, along with videos and photos taken during the Marahoue field investigation.

We call on the Ivorian authorities to protect human rights and allow independent civil society monitors to observe any actions taken. In parallel, we call upon the chocolate industry to create a humanitarian aid fund to compensate farmers who are expelled from parks and protected areas. Having created the conditions leading to the illegal occupations of these areas the industry has a moral responsibility to finance solutions, and assist expelled farmers in rebuilding their lives.


Farmers Face New Round of Eviction from Protected Forests in Côte d’Ivoire

Government Should Ensure Small-Scale Farmers Receive Adequate Notice, Compensation

Jim Wormington, Researcher, Human Rights Watch
Etelle Higonnet, Campaign and Legal Director, Mighty Earth

Côte d’Ivoire, fighting widespread and rapidly advancing deforestation, is embarking on an ambitious plan to reclaim and rehabilitate its forests. As it moves to protect a key national resource, the government needs to be careful not to trample of the rights of the thousands of small-scale farmers now facing eviction.

Côte d’Ivoire has seen its forest decline from 50 percent of its territory in 1900 to less than 12 percent in 2015. Much of the deforestation has been driven by Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa industry – the world’s biggest – with the government estimating between 30 and 40 percent of cocoa comes from protected forests. Most cocoa is produced by small-scale farmers who receive only a fraction of the profits from crop sales.

In June 2018, Côte d’Ivoire published a new forestry policy that would convert most of its decimated protected forests to Agro-Forests, with multinational companies – mostly from the lucrative global chocolate industry – responsible for developing sustainable agroforestry cocoa farming methods. For the remaining forests, the Ministry for Water and Forests proposes to strictly enforce long-neglected laws banning farming and occupying protected forests and national parks.

The implementation of the new forestry policy will likely result in the evictions of thousands of small-scale cocoa farmers, with an estimated 1.5 to 2 million cocoa farmers living in protected forests and national parks in Côte d’Ivoire and neighboring Ghana. The Ivorian protected forest of Scio, for example, where thousands of people live, reportedly received notice of an eviction operation planned for July.

Although the Ivorian government has the right to reclaim forests intended for conservation, international law protects anyone who occupies land from forced evictions that do not respect the dignity and rights of those affected, regardless of where they are living.

Past eviction operations in Côte d’Ivoire have left farmers’ families without adequate shelter, food, and education, and we have documented extortion, corruption, and physical abuses committed by government agents conducting evictions. In an October 2017 letter on the creation of Agro-Forests, we also warned that large agricultural companies often fail to protect the rights of small-scale farmers, especially when national regulations are unclear or not enforced.

The Ivorian government is right to want to protect and rehabilitate forests. But it should ensure that evictions are only used as a last resort and farmers receive adequate notice, compensation for property and crops, and assistance finding new land or obtaining new livelihoods. Measures to protect the environment, such as the protection of protected forests, should be implemented while respecting the rights of those who live in the area.

This piece is crossposted from Human Rights Watch


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More photos and videos.

Read Marahoue letter in French here.

Read Marahoue letter in English here.


Return to Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana - Second Field Investigation and Satellite

 From the field: Ongoing Deforestation in Cote D’Ivoire

Mighty Earth returned to Côte d’Ivoire to see what’s happened on the ground, since the chocolate industry and government promises made at the November 2017 COP in Bonn — to go deforestation-free


One year ago, the world’s largest chocolate and cocoa companies stood beside representatives of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the two major cocoa-producing countries, and committed to transform their industry. They said they would end deforestation linked to the production of cocoa and protect human rights better. Mighty Earth monitored these promises all year. We conducted analysis of remote sensing data of forests in the cocoa-growing regions of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. In October 2018, Mighty Earth sent a field team to check things out on the ground in Côte d’Ivoire. Did the reality live up to the promises?


This is what we found.

In the Goin Debé classified forest, deforestation for cocoa was continuing, and the local cocoa farmers reported that families were exchanging land to make room for more cocoa. One forest had been cleared and planted with cocoa just two days before our team arrived – in the protected area we had investigated less than a year prior.

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In the Cavally Forest Reserve, the team headed into a dense intact forest, their path cleared by the machete swings of SODEFOR rangers. After 30 minutes, the forest cover began to thin and cocoa trees appeared. Some were one year old or less, indicating that they had likely been planted after the Frameworks of the Cocoa and Forest Initiative were announced in November 2017 at the Bonn COP.


 

 

Some protected areas are on the verge of extinction in the next 10 years, if the deforestation rates of the last year continue. These forests are mostly in the Southwest of the Côte d’Ivoire, in the cocoa producing heartland. Goin Debé is projected to vanish in around fifty years, if we continue with business as usual. Moyen Cavally the same.


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Full-sun cocoa prevents the growth of other species, and creates a biodiversity wasteland – a food desert for birds, bats, bees, and other living things. In contrast, densely shaded agroforestry retains important benefits of a natural forest.


While top chocolate companies and their executives and investors make sizable profits in this industry worth $100 billion a year, they pay very low wages and rely on extensive child labor. Our team found child labour in the field.


Some Ivorian forests we studied saw improvements, with deforestation rates going down. The top performers included the forest authorities protecting Tai, Nzo, Semien, Fransobi, Port Gauthier, Rapides Grah, Dassioko Sud and Nord, with Haute Dono and Bolo Ouest seeing the strongest positive changes of any area.

Unfortunately, other Ivorian forests saw things actually get worse, not better. Despite the promises made by industry and government, as this photo essay demonstrates in Goin Debe and Cavaly, the deforestation rates rose. Other poor-performing protected areas were Mont Kourabahi and Niouniourou Bloc Deux. But Cavaly Mont Sante (similar name but different protected area) stood out far and away as the worst of all. Tragically, even the national park designation was not enough to save Mont Peko, where deforestation rates rose as well.


Farmers hack down the smaller trees with machetes, but the oldest are too large to chop. They are burned instead; like this ancient giant we walked past, whose base has been charred by an illegal fire.


The Ivorian and Ghanaian governments have clearly failed to clamp down on this ongoing deforestation, and companies, despite their public commitments, have continued to buy cocoa from suppliers connected to deforestation. While companies and local authorities have taken some actions to limit deforestation, and some areas saw improvements, we nonetheless documented that farmers who engaged in deforestation for cocoa were still able to openly sell their cocoa without repercussions.


Deforestation in Ghana from 2001-2017. Red dots represent forest loss.

Deforestation in Ghana from November 2017-2018.

To assess the impact of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, we conducted analysis of remote sensing data across national parks and other protected areas in the cocoa-growing region in Ghana too.

This shows new tree cover loss in Ghana’s cocoa region in 2018. Ghana made tremendous progress this past year in mobilizing to end deforestation for cocoa, but they have a long way to go. Most of their forests are already gone. And satellite mapping shows that deforestation for cocoa is still continuing.


 

A year ago, we were all filled with hope when Prince Charles, Initiatief Duurzame Handel, and the World Cocoa Foundation helped industry and governments pledge to do better. Clearly key actors are failing and have not kept their promises. However, there is still room for optimism. Some authorities and companies have already gotten on the right track, proving that solutions are within are grasp. We can all do better. It’s not too late.


The future is in all of our hands.

Take action now.