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CococoBernard Callebaut

Cococo joins forces with industry and government to protect West African rainforests and end deforestation.

Posted: 3/21/2019


Calgary chocolate company a founding signatory to the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI) and publishes its Action Plan today.


Cococo aims to protect West African rainforests and help end deforestation


The Calgary company was a founding signatory in November 2017 to the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI), which intends to prevent deforestation and protect rainforests in West African cocoa growing regions, and today (with Easter approaching) is publicly disclosing a required Action Plan in continued pursuit of these aims.




Canadian company Cococo Chocolatiers, member of the World Cocoa Foundation and purveyors of fine cocoa products including under the Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut® brand, is proud to join 33 leading cocoa and chocolate companies, as well as the governments of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, in implementing the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to end deforestation and restore forest areas.  The combined actions of the signatories will play a crucial role in sequestering carbon stocks in West African forests and addressing global and local climate change, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.


Deforestation of tropical rainforests is a major issue in West Africa, which produces approximately two-thirds of the world's supply of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate and also used in a range of other consumer products.  Over a ten-year period, approximately 2.1 million hectares of forest area have been cleared in Côte d'Ivoire and 820,000 hectares in Ghana.  One quarter of this deforestation has been attributed to cocoa production.


The Cocoa and Forests Initiative was initiated by IDH - the Sustainable Trade initiative, the Prince of Wale's International Sustainability Unit (ISU) and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), in partnership with the governments of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.  The Cocoa & Forests Initiative draws on lessons learned and good practices from global efforts to reduce tropical deforestation in other commodities and sectors and will continue operating to support the implementation of the action plans at the global and local level.


When CFI was announced in 2017 at COP23, Cococo's President Brian Beck was quoted as saying: "There is a role here for everybody who is willing to commit.  The cocoa industry depends upon West Africa, and we - all of us - depend upon the same planet."  Today that theme continues with Cococo announcing an Action Plan (which is the required first public step being taken by all CFI participants).  Beck says: "Even though we are a small local business compared to the other huge players in the industry, we believe we can contribute.  Our Action Plan makes a point about consumerism that seems pretty basic: 'What Cococo is able to control today is mainly what we are willing to buy, and what we are willing to say, and to do, to amplify the effect of our buying decisions.'  Since we are experts and we are educated about the supply chain in a way that our customers likely cannot be, really it is our responsibility to deliver the goods.  We can be transparent about exactly how what we do relates to the goals of CFI."


Cococo's full Action Plan is being posted online today in compliance.  Highlights from the Action Plan include Cococo pledging to:


  • Source from and support West Africa (there is no chocolate industry as we know it today without West Africa).

  • Work only with other compliant CFI signatories who demonstrate transparently their CFI commitment.

  • Evaluate and report publicly upon the CFI compliance of suppliers (measuring sustainability indicators such as forest protection and restoration, fair trade economies for framers, and community engagement focusing on women and youth).

  • Pursue suppliers to achieve full transparency and traceability along the entire cocoa supply chain

  • Lobby governments about the need to improve retail product labeling, and to enforce existing labeling standards, to support CFI goals

  • Report transparently online about its annual progress - including by disclosing failures.


View Cococo's Action Plan here.


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About Cococo


Based in Calgary Alberta, Cococo Chocolatiers Inc. is proudly Canadian.  They are expert manufacturers and retailers of award-winning confectionary chocolates.  Cococo's name evokes not just the fun and pleasure, but also the sustainability, of "chocolate together".  The company's brand pillars - Cocoa, Community, Confections - are all words that begin with "co".  "Co" means "together".  Cococo's proprietary couverture chocolate is made with fair trade and sustainable Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM cocoa and cocoa butter to support farming communities in West Africa.


Cococo operates 7 corporate stores in Calgary, one in Banff, two in Victoria B.C.  Cococo also supports an independent network of dealer stores across Canada and the United States.  The company employs over 100 people in manufacturing, administrative , and retail positions.



For further information, contact:

Brian Beck, President
(403) 554-6448