As global demand for chocolate is growing, the chocolate industry is destroying the rainforests of West Africa. 70% of illegal deforestation in the area is the result of cocoa production, as trees are cut down due to the shadow they cast over cocoa trees. Farmers produce illegal cocoa in national parks and then sell it on to middlemen who supply companies including Nestlé, Mars and Hershey. If nothing is done, by 2030 there will be no forest left. Although major chocolate and cocoa companies have committed to stopping deforestation, local producers seem to be unaware of how big the problem is. Deforestation leads to bigger problems, including global warming, natural disasters, and the extinction of animals. It also increases human exploitation, as most farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana work for USD 0.54 and 0.82 per day.
In view of the above:
- Is the Commission aware of this problem?
- What will the Commission do to protect the environment and impose sanctions on the companies responsible for this?