GHANA – Mondelez International has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Forestry Commission of Ghana, Ghana Cocoa Board and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in a new partnership to help reduce emissions from cocoa production in Ghana.

Mondelez has committed US$5 million through the Cocoa Life initiative to help reduce emissions from cocoa production in Ghana.

Cocoa Life aims to create empowered and thriving cocoa farming communities, reaching more than 200,000 farmers across six countries and benefiting more than a million people by 2022, according to Mondelez.

The program will help in implementing projects to deliver the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Program (GCFRP) which aims at tackling deforestation and forest degradation.

Ghana has the highest deforestation rates in Africa at 3.2% per annum primarily due to unsustainable expansion of cocoa and other agricultural crops, according to the GCFRP.

“Deforestation makes up the largest part of our carbon footprint, which is why it’s so important for us to address this issue head on.

Through this collaboration, we can be even more efficient in safeguarding the environment and helping cocoa farmers become resilient against climate change,” said Hubert Weber, Executive Vice President and President Europe at Mondelēz International.

“This partnership builds on Cocoa Life’s on-going forest protection efforts.

It’s an exciting new chapter in our work in Ghana and fits with the commitment we made by signing the Cocoa & Forests Initiative Framework for Action at COP23.”

The sustainability program also aims to reduce the high rate of deforestation and forest degradation, as well as their associated greenhouse carbon emissions, from cocoa farming within Ghana’s High Forest Zone.

Cocoa Life, which is part of Mondelēz International’s Impact for Growth is committed to driving business growth with positive change in the world, as well as the world’s largest Cocoa producer.

The action plan in key Hotspot Intervention Areas would focus on mapping all land uses, including cocoa farms, implementing climate smart cocoa practices to increase yields and sustainability, improving access to finance to foster good practices by farmers and communities.

It will also involve legislative and policy reform to support program execution and coordination and measurement, reporting and verification.

“The Ghana government is promoting public-private partnerships, which are critical for sustainable economic growth in all sectors, including the forestry sector,” said John Peter Amewu, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in Ghana and signatory of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative.

“Cocoa Life is a valuable asset to the realization of the Joint Framework for Action under the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, as it brings on board advanced environmental protection strategies at farmer, community and national levels,” says the company.