The Nestlé group signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Water and Forests of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire for the implementation of the project relating to the conservation and rehabilitation of the Classified Forest of Cavally. The agreement was signed by Mr. Alain-Richard DONWAHI, Minister of Water and Forests and Mr. Thomas CASO, Managing Director of Nestlé Côte d'Ivoire, in the presence via videoconference of Mr. Magdi BATATO, Executive Vice-President, Director of Nestlé operations.
Of the total project cost estimated at 3.34 million Swiss francs, Nestlé is contributing 2.5 million, or more than one and a half billion CFA francs. It will be implemented by SODEFOR and the EARTHWORM Foundation, which will work in synergy with other stakeholders.
This protocol once again reinforces the Nestlé Group's commitment to the fight against deforestation. In 2017, Nestlé joined the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (ICF) to help end deforestation, in partnership with the governments of Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and actors in the cocoa and chocolate industry . The ICF, thanks to the combined efforts of its members, has enabled Côte d'Ivoire to make significant progress in forest protection.
The Cavally forest is one of the 234 classified forests in Côte d'Ivoire. Côte d'Ivoire has lost much of its forest cover over the past 60 years. From 1960 to 2015, the area of its forests increased from 16 million to 3.5 million hectares. Most of this loss is believed to be caused by extensive agriculture.
“The fight against cocoa-related deforestation is part of Nestlé's ambition to transform its agricultural supply chain by making it more climate-friendly and more resilient. This decision is part of our commitment to the fight against climate change and will contribute to achieving our "zero net emissions" objective by 2050 ", said Mr. Magdi Batato, Executive Vice-President, Director of Operations at Nestlé.
The Ivorian government recently adopted in 2018 a national policy for the preservation, rehabilitation and extension of forests, which gives pride of place to the private sector. “This partnership will strengthen our commitment to tackle deforestation caused in part by cocoa cultivation in Côte d'Ivoire and to build the resilience of communities and cocoa farmers. I wish its implementation every success”, declared Alain Richard DONWAHI, Ivorian Minister of Water and Forests when signing the protocol.
Besides its objective of protecting and restoring the Cavally forest while improving the resilience of local communities, Nestlé's ambition is that this project will serve as a model demonstrating that it is possible to produce sustainable cocoa in Côte d'Ivoire, cocoa that protects the forest and allows cocoa communities to thrive.
"We will continue to work with governments and other stakeholders to help protect and restore forest reserves and improve the quality of life for communities. These initiatives are expected to promote sustainable cocoa production and prosperous communities, "added Thomas CASO, General Director of Nestlé Côte d'Ivoire.
Cavally’s project is also part of broader efforts by the Ministry of Water and Forests and IDH "the Sustainable Trade Initiative".
In addition, Nestlé also collaborates with IDH "the Sustainable Trade Initiative". The company signed a protocol with IDH, as part of the "Grown Sustainably in Africa" (GSA) program in April 2020. This is a three-year partnership that aims to support 25,000 farmers and 50 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as the opening of new markets for them in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria, strengthening employment and food security.