Cocoa Life focuses on maintaining cocoa ecosystems and protecting land—it’s our promise to future generations. It requires investment in farmer trainings, mobilizing communities to prioritize forest protection and more. That’s why climate change is one of our three cross-cutting themes.

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The Issue
ghana cocoa canopy

Deforestation is driving climate change and it makes up the largest part of our carbon footprint.

  • Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, for instance, supply about 60% of the world’s cocoa, but also have high deforestation rates estimated at 2.7% and 2.9%, respectively
  • Some reports show current cocoa-producing regions may no longer be suitable for cocoa production in the next 30 years if we don’t take action
  • Cocoa farmers in West Africa are already seeing the impacts of climate change

What is Happening

Deforestation from cocoa farming disrupts local weather patterns and causes carbon emissions, contributing to global climate change. As weather patterns evolve, like high temperatures and droughts, farmers aren’t able to grow as much cocoa. They’re forced to expand into new areas, triggering this vicious cycle all over again. That is why we’re proactively addressing deforestation in our cocoa supply chain.

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Our Strategy
cocoa gathering

Cocoa Life provides training in sustainable agricultural practices to help farmers grow more cocoa on less land, and is protecting forests. It all starts with respecting the environment.

In fighting climate change, we're focused on three areas:

  • Produce: Investing in training farmers on Good Agricultural Practices and infrastructures to increase cocoa yields
  • Protect: Mapping all registered Cocoa Life farms to identify areas at risk with Global Forest Watch, monitoring tree cover losses and restoring degraded forests
  • People: Providing community members with climate-smart business training and financial support to strengthen their resilience and ensuring Community Action Plans prioritize forest protection

"Cocoa farmers and community leaders tell us climate change is already impacting their farms. At Cocoa Life, we're leading the way in protecting forests. Our partnerships will be key to success in this area. It's ongoing work, but we're improving every day."

Cédric van Cutsem, Global Operations Manager, Cocoa Life, Mondelēz International

Where we are today
community village woman

Mondelēz International has achieved major milestones over the years:

  • 2014: Endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests, seeking to end deforestation
  • 2015: Committed to lead private sector action at the COP21 climate talks in Paris, as part of Côte d’Ivoire’s national program to combat deforestation
  • 2017:
    • Established the Cocoa & Forests Initiative with the World Cocoa Foundation, The Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit and 11 other cocoa and chocolate companies to address deforestation and forest degradation
    • Announced the Cocoa & Forests Initiative’s Frameworks for Action at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) with governments in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana
    • Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Environment in Côte d’Ivoire to support the country’s bold ambition to reach zero deforestation in cocoa
    • Started the first REDD+ project in the Nawa region of Côte d’Ivoire, mapping cocoa farms in 85% of the area to identify and monitor areas at risk for deforestation, and to create land-use plans
    • Published a joint discussion paper with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), exploring how public and private sectors can work together to reduce deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire
    • Partnered with Impactum and CARE International in Côte d’Ivoire, linking 6 Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) to 3 nurseries and producing 150,000 tree seedlings for food and timber (proceeds flow back into VSLAs)
    • Trained 156 farmers on agroforestry practices in Côte d’Ivoire
    • With the Ghana Cocoa Board and UNDP, distributed 1+ million shade trees to 9,600+ farmers in Ghana
    • Mapped 30,000 farms boundaries via Global Forest Watch to identify at-risk land in Ghana
  • 2018:
    • Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UNDP, Forestry Commission of Ghana and Ghana Cocoa Board to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain across Ghana
    • Committed to publish an action plan through the Cocoa & Forests Initiative with industry and government partners in Ghana
  • Ongoing: Continued partnering with the Ghana Cocoa Board and UNDP to distribute shade trees and provide natural resource management and planning tools for cocoa farmers and their communities

"We believe public-private partnerships are critical to transforming the cocoa sector and tackling deforestation because of their power to combine the resources and expertise of governments, donors, industry, suppliers and - most importantly - farmers all working together. I am delighted that the cocoa sector has agreed to work together on the Cocoa & Forests Initiative."

Hubert Weber, Executive Vice President and President, Mondelēz Europe


Cocoa Life trains youth on cocoa-related enterprises, providing opportunities to work alongside cocoa farmers. This enables them to learn about business and good agricultural and environmental practices. In Indonesia, a group of young people initiated a new project to apply those skills. It consisted of transforming organic waste (e.g., plants) into natural fertilizer and reselling it to the farmers. When youth are empowered, they can become effective agents of change.


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