Chocolate makers are mapping out supply chains to increase traceability
Chocolate companies around the globe are working together to help curb the spread of deforestation caused by the cocoa industry.
A major component of helping end deforestation is tracing where imported cocoa is coming from, and chocolate makers have now been able to track 82% of purchases from Ghana and 74% of direct cocoa purchases from Ivory Coast in 2020.
This ability to track from farm to point of purchase is part of an effort by cocoa companies to increase traceability within their supply chains. As of today, chocolate makers have been able to map around 605,000 cocoa farms between Ghana and Ivory Coast, where nearly 60% of the world’s cocoa is produced.
“Illegal deforestation is a key driver of forest loss and creates significant risk for supply chain companies and financial institutions that may unwittingly supply or finance illegally sourced commodities,” Justin Adams, Executive Director of the Tropical Forest Alliance told Reuters.
The increase in tracing is also part of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, a collaborative effort between Ghana, Ivory Coast and 35 cocoa and chocolate businesses. The initiative has helped oversee the planting of 10 million trees in the two countries and 226,000 hectares of forest area be restored.
Many of the world’s biggest chocolate makers have committed to helping end deforestation, with companies such as Cargill, Nestle, Mars, Hershey, Nestle and more part of the World Cocoa Foundation.
“I think most U.S. consumers would strongly agree that it’s immoral, outdated, and preposterous that products sold on supermarket shelves can be traced back to illegally deforested land,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon said in a statement.
Blumenauer’s comments came on the heels of a study conducted by Forest Trends, which explored how commercial agriculture is causing illegal deforestation and the problems it is creating, such as an increase in global warming.
“This report offers more evidence as to why we need to crack down on illegal deforestation from commercial agriculture,” Blumenauer said.
Chocolate makers are using barcodes and digital point-to-point systems to track cocoa’s movements through the supply chain, which enables them to better understand the environmental impact, according to the 2020 CFI Annual Report.
Hershey and Cargill, meanwhile, have enacted policies and strategies in order to reach their goal of ending deforestation within their supply chains by 2030.