These partners include the Swiss Federal Administration (SECO) via the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa (SWISSCO) as well as companies Touton and Cocoasource, which work directly with cocoa and rubber cooperatives in the area affected.
The multi-sectoral collaboration is committed to contributing towards the protection and restoration of the classified Cavally Forest, in partnership with local organisations and communities. It was initiated by the Ivorian government, Earthworm Foundation and Nestlé in 2020.
Côte d'Ivoire has lost most of its forest cover over the last 60 years. Between 1960 and 2021, the area of its forests shrunk from 16 million to 2.97 million hectares. This loss was caused in particular by small-scale farming.
The new collaboration follows in the footsteps of the initial, three-year project funded by Nestlé, which will run until the end of June 2023.
During its first phase, the Cavally project led to a significant reduction in deforestation, the natural regeneration of 7,000 hectares, and the reforestation of almost 1,500 hectares. In addition, more than 1,400 people benefited financially from the project.
Beginning on 1 July 2023, Nestlé said the new three-year phase of the project will have more ambitious goals and a wider group of partners.
The new phase now includes trading companies Touton and Cocoasource as well as Nestlé. They are active in the peripheral regions of the forest and already work with local cooperatives.
In 2018, the government of Côte d'Ivoire adopted a national forest preservation, rehabilitation and expansion policy, which aims to enable the country to recover 20% of its forest cover by 2030.
On the ground, Nestlé said this policy is bearing fruit thanks to a strategy of protecting and restoring the forest in this cocoa landscape as well as the successful social inclusion of rural communities, including women and young people.
"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," said Corinne Gabler, head of confectionery and 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."