Nestlé has reported significant progress in its efforts to help end deforestation and restore forests in its cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The company has published its Cocoa & Forests Initiative report (pdf, 17Mb), highlighting key milestones achieved. In 2017, Nestlé joined the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to contribute to ending deforestation. The partnership brings together the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana with the cocoa and chocolate industry. In March 2019, Nestlé released a detailed plan to support these collective efforts and act in its Nestlé Cocoa Plan supply chain.
Over the past months, Nestlé has mapped over 75 % of the 120000 cocoa farms it sources from in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The boundaries of the plantations have been identified with Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers, ensuring that none of them are located in protected forests. By October this year, all remaining farms will be mapped in the two countries.
Nestlé has scaled up the number of native forest and fruit trees it has distributed in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, from 32000 in 2018 to now reach a total of more than 560000. These cast shade on cocoa trees making farms more climate-resilient, while the fruit trees provide additional income for cocoa farmers. The company has also kicked off two agroforestry projects, working closely with communities to maximize shade tree density on farms to help improve yields. Nestlé has continued to train farmers on good agricultural practices and forest protection. Over 85000 farmers participated in the training program in 2019.
To reduce pressure on forests and help improve family health, Nestlé has distributed over 800 more efficient and less polluting cookstoves. The company has contributed to financial support through the creation of village savings and loan associations for over 9400 people in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. They can take loans when needed, for example, to finance small business opportunities, with funds returned at the end of the year.
Alexander von Maillot, Senior Vice President, Head of Confectionery Strategic Business Unit, Nestlé S.A., said: “We have made good progress across all the primary objectives we set out under our Cocoa & Forests Initiative action plan. Sustainable cocoa requires thriving communities. Our actions take into account the need to balance forest protection and communities’ livelihoods. As we forge ahead with our efforts to embed sustainability in the cocoa sector, we will continue to focus on providing farmers with viable alternatives to grow the same amount or even more cocoa on less land.”
Addressing deforestation linked to cocoa is part of Nestlé’s ambition to transform its agricultural supply chain, making it more climate-friendly and resilient. This move will help the company achieve its ‘2050 net-zero pledge’. To this end, Nestlé is deploying nature-based solutions, like reforestation, to absorb more carbon, improve soil health, and enhance biodiversity.
Nestlé will continue to work with the governments and other stakeholders to help protect and restore forests reserves. Such initiatives should promote sustainable cocoa production and thriving communities.