Based on the results of research conducted in partnership with the French Development Agency (AFD), the purpose of this Policy Brief is to provide a summary of the findings and avenues for policy action for the authorities of producing and consuming countries, technical and political cooperation, and companies in the sector, in order to enable the cocoa and chocolate sector to meet, in a sustainable manner, the demand which continues to grow and which could otherwise cause the next production and deforestation "booms" in countries still endowed with significant natural capital.

Key Messages

  • Agroforestry is not a technical miracle solution that would allow cocoa trees to be planted on forested areas without losing the natural capital of tropical forests. Complex agroforestry can be supported when and where it is already practised in a "quality" perspective and market segment.
  • Where cocoa is established, particularly in West African countries that have gone through almost total deforestation, such as Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, challenges remain for orchard restoration, organic production, forest restoration and compensation.
  • In order to avoid future cocoa booms in forested countries, action on the value chain would be indispensable, and could aim to relocate storage in the countries of production, in order, by de-massifying this stage, to encourage the development of quality and fair trade commodity chains.
  • Labels and certifications are not intrinsically inefficient: if they represented a significant market share, ensured a significantly increased remuneration for producers, and required real conditions regarding deforestation, they could be part of the solution. Action could aim to support these initiatives by enabling them to go beyond their current limits.
  • Finally, the voluntary commitments made by companies have remained, apart from a few exceptions, vague and unverifiable. In the dynamic of corporate commitments now in the making in preparation for the future post-2020 framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity, it is to be hoped that the movement will move towards "SMART" commitments, i.e. relevant and measurable.
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