23 July 2021

Ghana launches Engagement Principles for cocoa sector


Ghana launches Engagement Principles for cocoa sector

Accra: July 23, 2021 – The Ghana Forestry Commission is today launching “Engagement Principles for the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ programme”. The Engagement Principles will guide how international companies work with national and local government, traditional authorities and local communities in cocoa production landscapes in Ghana to achieve their commitments towards deforestation-free supply chains.

The Engagement Principles are a core element of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP), the world's first commodity-based emission reductions programme. The guidance takes potential partners through a step-by-step process including different ways to engage, types of investment, communication, monitoring and evaluation requirements and process.

Analyses of the drivers of deforestation under the REDD+ programmes have stressed the role of commodities in deforestation and the importance of working with the private sector in commodity supply chains to address the situation.

As the second largest producer of cocoa, Ghana’s economy (and smallholder livelihoods) is highly dependent on the commodity. However, climate change presents a risk to the cocoa sector, which is dependent on rainfall and forest ecosystem services. Using a climate-smart cocoa production strategy, the GCFRP aims to significantly reduce emissions driven by deforestation and forest degradation, whilst ensuring cocoa productivity and local livelihoods are improved. 

Representatives present to endorse the Engagement Principles include: 

  • Hon. Benito Owusu Bio, Deputy Minister (Forestry), Ministry of Lands and Natural Resource
  • John Allotey, Chief Executive of the Ghana Forestry Commission
  • Abraham Baffoe, Africa Director of Proforest 
  • Paramount Chief - Agona
  • Roselyn Fosuah Adjei, Director of the Climate Change Directorate and REDD+ Secretariat
  • Vincent A. Pratt, Ghana Manager for the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, part of World Cocoa Foundation 

“The Forestry Commission manages six Hotspot Intervention Areas as part of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme, which represents the largest fully functional jurisdictional programme in Ghana,” said John Allotey, CEO of the Ghana Forestry Commission. “It is a complex landscape that depends on constant engagement at all levels of government and industry, across all stages of the supply chain and critically across all stakeholder groups in the community. We recognised a gap in the cocoa sector to aid and support engagement with the REDD+ programme, and today we have a way forward.”

"The Engagement Principles are an important milestone in the journey for companies” said Vincent Pratt of the World Cocoa Foundation, which represents eight private sector companies in the landscape. “Companies have recognised that many issues can only be tackled at a landscape level, requiring a multi-layered multi-stakeholder process. We’re committed to ensuring our engagement, actions and investment decisions follow the needs of the landscape and the people who depend on it.”

“This is a big step change in the way that companies can engage with the REDD+ programme in Ghana,” said Abraham Baffoe, Africa Director of Proforest, which facilitated the development of the Engagement Principles. “As cocoa is a major export commodity it is a critical step to have international companies and partners validating the Engagement Principles today. We are also able to bring ways of working across commodities, with bodies such as the Tree Crops Development Authority working together in the landscape, across palm, rubber and other forest-risk commodities.”

The Ghana Engagement Principles are published on the Ghana Forestry Commission REDD+ Secretariat website.