IVORY COAST – Unilever-owned Magnum ice cream brand has announced a tree planting programme in the Cavally Forest region in Ivory Coast, targeting to plant 465,000 native trees as it marks International Day of Forests.

This is part of a multi-year, strategic plan to preserve and restore the region where it sources its cocoa for its ice-creams.

Magnum’s Brand Director, Ben Curtis, said, “We are proud to announce our work to protect and preserve forests in Côte d’Ivoire, where the majority of Magnum’s cocoa is sourced.

“It helps us continue on the right path for a sustainable future for both Magnum and our local cocoa farming communities; and means Pleasure Seekers can enjoy their Magnum ice-cream knowing they’ve made a good choice for people and the planet.”

Alongside the tree planting efforts, Magnum has unveiled a unique arts and radio programme aimed at engaging local communities to work alongside them to protect and restore biodiverse forest habitats.

The radio programme broadcasted in French is a drama series encouraging local farmers to plant new native trees and teach them about the new Forest Code.

At the same time, the ice-cream brand is working with teams on the ground to make sure that existing barriers to successful re-forestation such as sustainable land tenure, decent livelihoods and women economic empowerment, are also tackled.

This forms part of its 2025 cocoa strategy ultimately seeking to source 100% of its cocoa responsibly and reach its dedicated farmers with impact programmes that complement certification.

“We are proud to announce our work to protect and preserve forests in Côte d’Ivoire, where the majority of Magnum’s cocoa is sourced.”

Magnum Brand Director – Ben Curtis

Other than Magnum, Nestle Group in July last year signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Water and Forests of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire for the implementation of the CHF 3.34 million (US$3.5m) project aimed to conserve and rehabilitate the Classified Forest of Cavally, of which Nestlé is contributing CHF 2.5 million (US$2.6m).

The company’s CHF 2.5 million (US$2.6m) investment finances efforts to end deforestation within the forest reserve triggered by Cocoa farming.

It also supports transition pathways for farmers currently producing in the reserve and promote regenerative agriculture for areas around the reserve.

The project is being implemented by SODEFOR and the EARTHWORM Foundation, which will work in synergy with other stakeholders, including the cocoa communities.

The world’s leading cocoa producing country Ivory Coast, is also set to clinch €1bln (US$1.2 billion) financing from the European Union over the next six years, to aid the country’s cocoa sector adapt to EU supply chain laws towards sustainable cocoa production, due to be introduced later this year.

The loan will be provided under the “Team Europe” initiative set up by the institution to assist its member countries, with the resources expected to come from all 27 EU member states as well as financial institutions in the zone

The European Parliament has been pushing for the 27-nation bloc to introduce laws to prevent the import of commodities and products linked to deforestation and human rights abuses.

If the laws are adopted, buyers would be required to trace their inputs through every step of their supply chains, including starting at the level of small farms.

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