Olam Cocoa strengthens its commitment to end deforestation in global cocoa supply chain
Olam Cocoa has announced further commitments to end deforestation and forest degradation in its entire cocoa supply chain worldwide. This includes the following key actions:
- Achieved 100 percent traceability of its sustainable cocoa supply chain in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire as part of action plan to end deforestation by cocoa in West Africa
- On track to achieve full traceability of its direct origination supply chain worldwide by 2020
- Committed to supporting the restoration and preservation of 460,000 hectares of forêts classées in Côte d’Ivoire
- Mapped 100 percent of its supplier network in Ghana and will use this data to identify suppliers perceived to be in areas of highest forest risk by the end of 2019
- Distributing almost 1.2 million multi-purpose shade trees in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and 2 million improved cocoa seedlings to farmers in Ghana in 2019
- Training 104,000 cocoa farmers in Good Agricultural Practices in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana in 2019
As a signatory to the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) Olam Cocoa is implementing an action plan to eliminate deforestation, protect and restore forests and work with farming communities that depend on cocoa for their livelihoods, both in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and across its global cocoa supply chain.
Arouna Coulibaly, business head Olam Cocoa, Côte d’Ivoire, said: “This is a landmark moment for combating the complex issue of deforestation in West Africa and supporting a sustainable livelihood for millions of cocoa farmers. Olam Cocoa has already achieved 100 percent traceability from individual farms to first purchase point in both Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and has mapped its entire supplier network in Ghana to be able to identify deforestation risk hotspots. We are pushing ourselves even further by aiming to map Cote d’Ivoire and other countries by the end of 2019.”
The action plans form part of Olam’s cross-commodity Living Landscapes Policy (LLP) which goes beyond forest policies byseeking to re-imagine the future of global agriculture where prosperous farmers, thriving rural communities, and healthy ecosystems can coexist. Olam Cocoa is implementing sustainability programs in partnership with its international chocolate and confectionery customers, which are all independently verified and focused on three key areas:
Forest protection and restoration
Olam Cocoa, in partnership with the Ivorian Ministry of Forests and Water and alongside national government institutions, has committed to protect and support restoration of the two forêts classées of Rapides Grah and Haute Dodo. These are located on the southern border of one of the last intact National Parks in the country, the Taï National Park. As the first cocoa company to sign a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the Ivorian Ministry of Forests and Water in 2018, followed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), it will support the preservation and rehabilitation of 460,000 hectares.
Commenting on the MOU, the Côte d'Ivoire minister of water and forests, Alain-Richard Donwahi, said: “Olam Cocoa is taking a leadership position within the cocoa industry by engaging in a collaborative approach to forest restoration in the supply chain in Côte d'Ivoire. The company brings a high level of technical knowledge and an extensive on the ground understanding that is critical for balancing the protection of this sensitive area around the Taï National Park with the livelihoods of smallholder cocoa farmers. We look forward to developing the joint plan of action to accelerate our progress towards solving these complex issues.”
Sustainable production and farmer livelihoods
As part of Olam Cocoa’s goal to achieve 100 percent traceable cocoa volumes from its global, direct origination supply chain by 2020, it has further scaled up its range of digital mapping tools. The Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS) records sustainability data such as bag-level traceability, training activities, labor and agricultural practices on farms, as well as GPS mapped data like farm size and distance to infrastructure. To date 143,000 farms and 180,000 hectares of cocoa farmland have been mapped and 57,396 cocoa farmers have been issued with tailored Farm Development Plans that deliver personalized advice based on data about their farm.
To tackle unacceptable land use practices, Olam is developing a methodology to map the risk of forest loss and to identify suppliers in areas perceived to have the highest forest risk. To date, Olam Cocoa has GPS mapped 100% of its supplier network in Ghana and expects to have completed mapping in Côte d’Ivoire and other countries by the end of 2019.
Social inclusion and community engagement
In Ghana, Olam Cocoa has partnered with Rainforest Alliance to implement a Partnership for Livelihoods and Forest Landscape Management programme, which is conserving forest reserves around the Sui River, the Suhuman, Tano Ehuru and Tano Suhien. Its focus is on protecting the habitats of native species while sustaining agricultural livelihoods of 10,000 cocoa farmers and their local communities.
Olam Cocoa’s initial plans as part of CFI will be updated and finalised in 2019 after the governments have completed the ongoing legal and operational policy changes, the mapping of protected areas, baseline data collection, and other building blocks needed for full investment programming.