Tropical commodities such as timber, oil palm, coffee, soy or cocoa are commonly considered drivers of deforestation. Illegal agricultural land clearing is a debatable concept but it has been responsible for half of tropical deforestation since 2000 (Lawson 2014). Both the private sector and governments have started to acknowledge that some of these supply chains were not fully in compliance with national laws of the countries where products are grown (Lawson, 2015). The FLEGT approach has been designed by the European Union to deal with those two interrelated issues of legality and deforestation. Starting with timber, it encourages forest law enforcement, government and private sector transparency on forest activities, and participation of stakeholders for better governance. The EU also commits to stopping the import of illegal timber through a system of VPA (Voluntary Partnership Agreement) licenses and a due diligence approach. A reflection has started on the relevance of an extension of such a public-public agreement to other commodity chains such as cocoa and on the sustainability potential of legal cocoa in the context of increasing demand for sustainable and “zero-deforestation” cocoa and the private sector publicly making commitments to end deforestation (New York Declaration on Forests 2014). This question is studied in two different contexts: the “rebirth” of the cocoa sector in Cameroon and the post cocoa-boom challenges in Ivory Coast.
Authors: Sanial, E.; Lescuyer, G.; Ruf, F.; Tsanga, R.
Subjects: cocoa, sustainability
Publication type: Brief