Rapid Response: Cocoa

Mighty Earth recently hosted a webinar for the launch of our Cocoa Accountability Map 2.0 as part of our effort to trigger a transparency and traceability revolution in the cocoa sector. To watch and learn more, please visit mightyearth.org/cocoa-accountability-map-2-0-webinar

The Cocoa Accountability Map

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About the Map

Mighty Earth partnered with MapHubs to create the Cocoa Accountability Map, an interactive map and integrated database covering nearly 5,000 cocoa co-ops in Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa-producing country.

For two years now, the cocoa industry and government of Cote d’Ivoire have promised in vain to develop joint monitoring mechanisms, in order to make good on their “Cocoa & Forests Initiative” November 2017 promise of ending deforestation in cocoa. But two years later and at the beginning of peak deforestation season in the region, no such system has been created. In the absence of industry and government action, Mighty Earth has taken on the task of creating a joint monitoring mechanism. The Cocoa Accountability Map, launched on January 15, 2020, seeks to spark a revolution in traceability and transparency in the Ivorian cocoa industry, in the hopes that this trend of openness will spread throughout the country – the world’s top cocoa producer – and then to Ghana and beyond.

The deforestation alerts on this map refresh automatically every two weeks. It will be vital for the Ivorian monitoring system, once it is set up, to step up vigilance during the January – March peak deforestation season, and to prioritize engagement in risky areas near protected areas and near new deforestation alerts.

The land use elements of this map show which crops can be found where. This currently covers one third of the cocoa belt, but will extend to cover all the cocoa belt by around March 2020 – providing useful information not only to the cocoa sector but also to other forest-risk commodities such as palm oil and rubber. Ideally the land use elements of this map will eventually allow for differentiating between full-sun monoculture cocoa vs more earth-friendly shade-grown cocoa, called “agroforestry”.

Certification elements of this map are near-complete though they will be reviewed to ensure no errors have been made.

The map delineates boundaries of national parks amongst other ecologically important areas, and will add in what are considered locally to be “sacred forests” if possible, through community mapping.

Co-op data and supply chain information about which companies is buying from which co-ops, will be continuously improved, as new information is made available by the government and industry. Together, we will have the ability to transparently monitor and stop deforestation, and ensure that CFI signatories detect where cocoa farms are expanding into forested lands so they can immediately stop it, and remedy the deforestation.

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Rapid Response Special Report – Cocoa

Ninety percent of West Africa’s primary forests have been destroyed. This Rapid Response report uses deforestation data between November 2017, when the CFI was signed, and November 2019 to assess cocoa-related deforestation risks in seven certified cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire. 

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Deforestation Over the Years

The chocolate industry’s November 2017 declaration promised a more sustainable future, so that chocolate lovers could finally enjoy their guilty pleasure without a guilty conscience. At the time, Mighty Earth praised the companies and country commitments as among the best of any private sector initiative aimed at protecting the environment. In the lead-up to the one year anniversary, we’ve deployed a combination of satellites, drones, and on-the-ground field teams to check up on how (and whether) these commitments are being implemented. Unfortunately, we found that despite the promises made by industry and government, forest destruction in West Africa for cocoa has continued, and that big companies as well as the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana hold responsibility for this continued – but avoidable – destruction.

Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire’s national forest monitoring system registers a 2% deforestation rate over the past year.

This report sets out the state and trends of deforestation in Ivory Coast in the last year. Key findings:

  • Between 2019 and 2020, 68,000 hectares of primary forest, 2.2% of remaining forest, were lost in Côte d’Ivoire.More than 75% of recorded deforestation took place in Western and Centre-East rural areas.
  • Forêts Classées account for 21% of forest losses.
  • Previous IMAGES data for the South West region of the country reveals that region of Cavally and the Forêt Classée de Goin Debé have both lost approximately 40% their remaining forest over the past three years.
  • Ongoing losses have left a landscape of fragmented forests at higher risk of further deforestation.
  • The authorities should put in place strong protection and enforcement resources to the last intact islands of rainforest in the country and engage with rural communities to protect and/or reforest their remaining fragmented forest.





Preliminary draft map of cocoa and land use in Ghana

Prepared by Ecometrica and Ghana’s government

While this map isn't as complete as the parallel mapping work done in Cote d’Ivoire in both geographic scope and quality, it is an important first step in Ghana becoming transparent about two crucial questions. First, where is the cocoa (land use map), and second, where is the deforestation (problem areas that need to be investigated). The interactive version of the map can be explored here. Ecometrica has now published this new map as part of its work on monitoring deforestation and cocoa in Ghana.



Report: Behind the Wrapper

Despite the chocolate industry’s pledge to cease sourcing cocoa linked to deforestation one year ago, a new Mighty Earth report finds that deforestation in West Africa for cocoa has continued, and in some cases has increased.

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Six Maps that Explain the Ivory Coast Cocoa Crisis

Mighty partnered with MapHubs to map deforestation linked to Cocoa in the Ivory Coast. Leo Bottrill and Kris Carle, MapHubs’ Founders, explain through six maps how this was possible.

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