Chocolate is on the mind of many people as Valentine’s Day approaches, but new research by University of Victoria geographer Sophia Carodenuto reveals troubling questions about the sustainability of this sweet treat.
Chocolate is on the mind of many people as Valentine’s Day approaches, but new research by University of Victoria geographer Sophia Carodenuto reveals troubling questions about the sustainability of this sweet treat. Her paper, published today, provides specific recommendations for the future of cocoa farming in some of the world’s key cocoa-producing countries—Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon—amidst the pressures of climate change, soil erosion and excessive forest loss.
Since 2012, Carodenuto has been working with government agencies and cocoa farmers to identify options for improving the sustainability of cocoa in the three West African countries, where roughly three-quarters of the world’s cocoa is produced by an estimated two million cocoa farmers.
The business of chocolate is shifting. Two years ago, 12 of the world's leading cocoa and chocolate companies made a collective public commitment to end the deforestation associated with the global cocoa supply chain. The new paper closely examines the emerging pledge to “zero deforestation cocoa” by public and private interests—the global chocolate companies who sell, purchase, grind and trade the cocoa beans and the government officials who regulate land use and agriculture extension—to ensure socioeconomic progress of cocoa farmers while confronting the domestic political policies to reduce deforestation and alleviate poverty.
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