Help us deliver forest-positive cocoa in these 7 high biodiversity forest landscapes, and translate the successes into sectoral change at the global scale
Cocoa is driving deforestation in the tropics on a devastating scale, including some of the most globally important areas for biodiversity. Smallholders produce at least 65% of the global cocoa supply, but struggle with low productivity due to aging trees. A lack of market infrastructure, producer organisations and investment capital compounds their problem.
The cocoa market is highly concentrated with only nine companies controlling global chocolate processing and manufacturing. This competition lowers prices, which is passed onto farmers, who receive a very small percentage of the overall price of a chocolate bar. Ninety percent of the cocoa sector has committed to moving towards zero deforestation cocoa supply chains and tackling poverty; however, progress has been slow due to the scale and complexity of the challenge.
While EU governments and companies have begun to recognise the problem, company efforts to safeguard their supply chains tend to exclude the smallholder farmers at the deforestation frontier. Instead, there is a need for holistic, landscape-scale approaches that address the underlying causes of land use change.
Implementing sustainable cocoa production requires innovative approaches to conservation, applied at the landscape level and involving coalitions of private sector and government actors.
Our aim is to ensure stable land use, and to guarantee that smallholder farmers can make a living. We help community groups plan and manage their farming patterns, and develop market links for farmers’ cooperatives to increase farm incomes where it matters most – at the forest frontier.
Using these approaches in seven priority landscapes for conservation, we are already demonstrating that cocoa is having a direct, net-positive impact for forests and smallholders. We are taking this collective, on-the-ground knowledge and expertise to show the cocoa sector what forest-positive cocoa production looks like.
Now, we want to continue to build pioneering partnerships to develop these approaches and bring them up to global scale, making sectoral commitments a reality.
We are seeking business partners to help get the unique products from these remarkable places to market. We are also seeking support from donors and philanthropists ready to support the slow and steady work of building local governance capacity and enshrining these sustainable land use models in national laws. We also need support to share the lessons from these landscape ventures to ensure that others in the sector can evolve.