A multi-sectoral collaboration is committed to contributing towards the protection and restoration of the classified Cavally Forest, said Nestlé, in partnership with local organisations and communities. This includes the Swiss Federal Administration (SECO), the Ivorian Ministry of Water and Forests (MINEF), Nestlé, Touton, Cocoasource and Earthworm Foundation.
The new collaboration follows in the footsteps of the three-year project funded by Nestlé, which will run until the end of June 2023. Preliminary results are encouraging, as during its first phase, the Cavally project led to a “significant reduction” in deforestation, natural regeneration of 7000 hectares and the reforestation of almost 15000 hectares.
With a total investment of CHF4 million, the new partnership doesn’t just include the Cavally Forest in its span, but aims to strengthen the resilience of the communities in the forest’s zone and improve the transparency and traceability of the cocoa and rubber supply chain.
It has four main objectives:
- To prevent deforestation and improve the ecosystem by stimulating natural regeneration and rehabilitating degraded areas in close collaboration with local communities.
- To improve the resilience of small-scale producers by helping them increase their productivity, achieve greater income diversification and gain easier access to financing.
- To help protect the rights of the children of these producers by raising awareness and providing easier access to school, in particular by acquiring birth certificates.
- To establish a more transparent supply chain for cocoa and rubber, in particular by improving traceability and exploring innovative solutions (including satellite monitoring) to increase the transparency of prices and payments to producers.
“During the first phase of the Cavally Forest regeneration project, we learned that there are various sides to the problem of deforestation in the area,” said Bastien Sachet, CEO of Earthworm Foundation, the organization leading the implementation of the project. “It is difficult to control such a large area. And the forest is attractive in terms of fertility and access to land for populations that are facing immense economic challenges. To combat deforestation and tackle the root causes of the problem, a collective approach based on creating value for producers and rural communities is required.”
To maximise the project’s impact, the new phase includes trading companies Touton and Cocoasource as well as Nestlé.
“The Cavally project is a very important initiative for us, as it allows our company to act directly within our supply chain. We are protecting a forest adjacent to the areas where we source cocoa and creating value for the farmers we work with,” explained Corinne Gabler, Head of Confectionery & Ice Cream at Nestlé. “We’re delighted to have been able to contribute towards the success of this first phase and look forward to working with new partners to further intensify the project’s impact.”
“Switzerland is an important country for the trading and processing of agricultural products, including cocoa,” added Monica Rubiolo, Head of Trade Promotion at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). “That’s why our government is actively involved in the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa (SWISSCO). Through our financial support for specific projects, we aim to actively contribute towards the creation of more sustainable supply chains, in close collaboration with the private sector, civil society and governments in the producer countries.”
As of 2018, the Côte d’Ivoire government adopted a national forest preservation, rehabilitation and expansion policy which aims to recover 20% of its forest cover by 2030. This policy is bearing fruit due to a strategy of protecting and restoring the forest in the cocoa landscape and the social inclusion of rural communities.
The classified Cavally Forest is one of the last remaining dense forests in Côte d’Ivoire, a county which has lost the majority of its forest cover over the last 60 years caused, in part, by small-scale farming.
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