Deerfield, Ill.-based Mondelēz International today announced it will partner with the Forestry Commission of Ghana, Ghana Cocoa Board and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in the country while simultaneously reducing emissions in its cocoa supply chain.
Through Cocoa Life, Mondelēz International’s signature sustainable cocoa sourcing program, the company will take a leading role in implementing projects to support the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Program (GCFRP), committing $5 million over five years.
“Deforestation makes up the largest part of our carbon footprint, which is why it’s so important for us to address this issue head on,” says Hubert Weber, Mondelez’ executive v.p. and president-Europe. “Through this collaboration, we can be even more efficient in safeguarding the environment and helping cocoa farmers become resilient against climate change.
 “This partnership builds on Cocoa Life’s ongoing forest protection efforts,” he adds. “It’s an exciting new chapter in our work in Ghana and fits with the commitment we made by signing the Cocoa & Forests Initiative Framework for Action at COP23.”
As one of the largest cocoa-producing countries, Ghana supplies about 20 percent of the world’s cocoa. According to the GCFRP, Ghana also has one of the highest deforestation rates in Africa at 3.2 percent per year. This is primarily due to unsustainable expansion of cocoa and other agricultural crops.
By working together with its partners, Mondelēz will execute an action plan in key Hotspot Intervention Areas, focusing on:
  • Mapping all land uses, including cocoa farms
  • Implementing climate smart cocoa practices to increase yields and sustainability
  • Improving access to finance to foster good practices by farmers and communities
  • Legislative and policy reform to support program execution
  • Coordination and measurement, reporting and verification
“The Ghana government is promoting public-private partnerships, which are very critical for sustainable economic growth in all sectors, including the forestry sector,” says John Peter Amewu, minister for lands and natural resources in Ghana and signatory of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative. “It is, therefore, encouraging that Mondelēz International’s Cocoa Life program is partnering with government to implement an integrated landscape approach to sustainable cocoa production and forest management.
 “Cocoa Life is a valuable asset to the realization of the Joint Framework for Action under the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, as it brings on board advanced environmental protection strategies at farmer, community and national levels,” he adds.
Since 2013, Cocoa Life has worked with the Ghana Cocoa Board and UNDP to promote environmentally sustainable production practices while conserving ecosystems and natural resources in cocoa landscapes across Ghana. Mondelēz is also a founding member of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, in which 12 leading cocoa and chocolate companies are partnering to reduce deforestation in the cocoa supply chain.