Chocolate has a way into our hearts irrespective of age but out love for chocolate is leading top chocolate brands into the hearts of deforestation in Western Africa. While we munch away on bars of Mars, these corporations are encouraging munching away of tropical forests in Ivory Coast and Ghana.
The Ivory Coast, the largest producers of cocoa beans in the world has lost close to 80% of its rainforest cover since 1960. While deforestation is common place across the world, Ivory Coast has seen astounding amount of deforestation inside its national parks. The illegally grown beans are brought by the world’s top brands like Nestle, Cadbury and Mars. According to an investigative report by research firm Mighty Earth, even chocolate processors like Olam, Barry Callebaut and Cargill participate in the rainforest murder.
Chocolate's trail of deforestation and child labour exploitation could very well make it a devil's work.
Ivory Coast’s national parks see illegal deforestation to grow cocoa plants at a rate similar to that seen on unprotected land. Villagers living inside the parks are illegally cutting down trees to grow cocoa for livelihood. The best cocoa is grown shade free in direct sunlight resulting in sawing down of rainforests. “The cocoa industry continues to exploit both forests and communities of West Africa for cocoa that is sold for large quantities of cheap, environmentally unsustainable cocoa beans,” told Sindou Bamba, General Coordinator of the Coalition of Ivorian Human Rights Actors (RAIDH) to the Mighty Earth.