We have committed to ending deforestation in our cocoa supply chain by 2030
As a leader in agriculture, food and nutrition, we are keenly aware that the strength of the global food system depends on the health of the world’s natural resources and farming communities. That is why we have committed to ending deforestation in our cocoa supply chain to help mitigate climate change and reduce habitat loss.
Why ending deforestation is important
The world’s forests are vital to life on earth. They support plant and animal life and provide food, water, fuel, medicine and livelihoods for billions of people. They are also intrinsically linked to climate change, with estimates suggesting around 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions result from tropical deforestation1. When it comes to mitigating climate change, forests provide crucial natural processes that reduce the impacts – from regulating water flow to absorbing carbon dioxide. We know that reducing and mitigating the impact of climate change is crucial to future global food security, and ending deforestation plays a central role.
We aim to use our relationships with both growers and consumers to help protect forests in the countries where we do business. In 2014, we joined global businesses, governments and civil society groups in endorsing the New York Declaration on Forests at the United Nations Climate Summit. We pledged to eliminate deforestation across our agricultural supply chains by 2030 and to halve it by 2020. In May 2017, Cargill was one of 30 companies whose CEOs wrote an open letter to the President of the United States expressing strong support for remaining in the Paris Climate Agreement. Also in 2017, we were among 12 of the world’s largest cocoa and chocolate companies to commit to the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to end cocoa supply chain deforestation.
Since signing the New York Declaration, we have been working to develop a clear roadmap, supported by clear policies and practices that will lead us to deliver our 2030 commitment. Our Global Policy on Forests is underpinned by a series of detailed action plans for higher-risk supply chains, including cocoa. Much of our approach and activity looks cross-commodity as we aim to draw upon the diverse knowledge and experience we have in different parts of the business.
Progress and highlights
We understand that any meaningful progress we make towards delivering our goal must be evidenced by sound science that demonstrates positive change against a predefined baseline. In collaboration with the World Resources Institute (WRI), we have carried out a risk assessment to develop a global baseline of tree cover for areas at risk of deforestation across four priority commodities, including cocoa.
For cocoa, we have assessed over 2.3 million hectares across our five origin countries using GPS technology to evaluate habitat type and tree cover loss. These assessments will lead to a baseline against which we will measure progress towards our 2020 and 2030 no deforestation goals. We are now using the results to prioritize interventions and advance sustainable landscape approaches to mitigate further deforestation and protect biodiversity.
2.3 million hectares land assessed for tree cover loss using GPS technology across our five origin countries.
We are working with farmers and other partners to explore opportunities to restore forest cover. For example, our one-to-one farmer coaching in Côte d’Ivoire includes training on the benefits of providing tree shade cover for increasing cocoa crop resilience to climate change. Tree planting will be also promoted through farm development plans. We will work with around 30 cooperatives that operate cocoa tree nurseries, with the aim of engaging 3,000 farmers and producing over 90,000 shade trees in the first year. Our hope is to build up a robust business case on the benefits of planting trees for increasing cocoa productivity and other income streams.
1 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use