Rapid Response: Cocoa

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About the Map

Mighty Earth’s Cocoa Accountability Map uses data from IMAGES‘ (Vivid Economics) platform and through a partnership with MapHubs, creates a revolution in traceability and transparency for the cocoa industry in Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa producing country.

The map combines cocoa supply chains from nearly every major cocoa and chocolate company operating in Côte d’Ivoire, including an integrated database covering more than 2000 cocoa cooperatives, as well as high-quality deforestation and full national land use data from IMAGES‘ (Vivid Economics) platform. The webpage also features lists of all legal official ‘pisteurs‘ in the country, though most companies have yet to admit which pisteurs they use.  

In November 2017, as part of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI), leading chocolate and cocoa companies and the government of Côte d’Ivoire committed to stopping deforestation for cocoa. To meet this commitment, they also promised to implement a joint monitoring mechanism. More than three years later, no such system has been created, despite promises made by various important stakeholders in the sector, including the hundred billion dollar a year industry, the Ivorian technical ministries, and the regulatory body for cocoa– Conseil Café Cacao (CCC). 

In the absence of action by the industry and the Government, Mighty Earth has created what is in essence a publicly available joint monitoring mechanism: The Cocoa Accountability Map, first published in January of 2020. Our intention is to encourage all stakeholders to use this map to end deforestation by responding to alerts, and meet their strong commitments to traceability and transparency with the hope that this move towards openness will spread throughout the country, and to other major cocoa producers like Ghana and Cameroon. 

The Cocoa Accountability Map

Click on the gear icon (top left) to add and remove layers

For data inquiries, contact [email protected]

Cocoa companies and traders included on the map are Alter Eco, Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Cocoanect, Cocoasource, Cémoi, ECOM, Ethiquable, Hershey, Lindt, Mars, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Olam, Puratos, Sucden, Tony’s Chocolonely, and Touton. Ferrero has recently disclosed its supply chain and will be incorporated into the map. Cocoa certification bodies included in the map are Rainforest Alliance/UTZ, and Fairtrade.



Cocoa Cooperatives:

Cocoa Cooperatives or “coops” are trading hubs, sometimes temporary, sometimes more permanent, where cocoa is collected from farmers for sale to traders and manufactures. 

Click on each “coop,” to display, in theory, its name, that of the manager as well as his contact info, the origin of its cocoa, the company to which it sells, its location, distance from the port, the nearest city, and the nature of its cocoa (certified or not certified). All of this information exists, but we only have access to some of itCCC, the regulator of cocoa, has thus far refused to provide the missing elements.

Historically, cooperatives were associations of farmers who put their productions together to form a recognized entity giving the growers representation to interact with the administration, defend their rights, and constitute a price negotiating force. This conception only rarely exists now. Most cooperatives are no longer made up of planters but rather intermediaries between farmers and buyers (companies and wealthy businessmen.) They do not care about farmers’ interests.  

Cocoa and Land Cover:

Cocoa has traditionally been the main driver of deforestation in Cote d’Ivoire but deforestation for cashews is increasing.

Protected Areas:

Within Côte d’Ivoire there are a number of different types of protected areas.  These range from the most protected parks and reserves like those of Tai National Park, and Banco National Park which have their own special police forces to those identified in the new Ivorian Forest code (2019) as the state’s private domains like classified forests,(forêts classées) agro-forests, botanical gardens.  

To these categories, we must add rural forests (domaine rural) which are nominally under the management of the government, but in practice they often belong to local communities. Logging can take place in the state’s private domains, while no logging is authorized in parks and reserves.  


To view the alerts for each month, click on the < > arrows.  

Thanks to the work of IMAGES (Vivid Economics), based on data from the UK Space Agency and the IMAGES platform, we are now able to publish Alerts of recent deforestation in the traditional cocoa growing regions in Cote d’Ivoire every six weeks.  

“Disturbance” includes deforestation, forest degradation and any other change to the forest that significantly alters radar backscatter, including the process of cocoa cultivation, a major driver of deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire. The System does not attempt to distinguish between types of disturbance, their causes, or the replacement land use class.” 

The radar goes over Côte d’Ivoire approximately every 2 weeks. This means that if the radar goes over the country on January 15th, it can detect deforestation that has happened between January 1st and January 15th. The problem is that sometimes it detects “noise” or false alarms. One way to filter these noises is to wait for at least two radar visits (= 4 extra weeks) before declaring that a point has been deforested. 

Therefore to “publish” the confirmed alerts we wait 4 more weeks after the first detection – this takes us to February 12th. As a result, alerts published on February 12th will have been detected three times (1 + 2 to verify) and will refer to any alert that happened between January 1st and January 15th.

The Deforestation Risk Index


The Deforestation Risk Index (DRI) identifies areas with high risk of deforestation in 2021

The DRI estimates the likelihood of future deforestation based on previous deforestation patterns. White areas are at higher risk for deforestation.  We hope this tool will be useful to those throughout the cocoa, rubber and cashew supply chains, including the government, to help identify areas most in need of resources to prevent deforestation. 

The DRI embeds a machine learning model trained on a combination of deforestation data from the pilot Early Warning System (EWS), the national EWS and several Earth Observation features. The main drivers of deforestation are terrain and climatic characteristics that are time invariant. The DRI estimates the likelihood of observing a deforestation event on every 100m x 100m area of Ivory Coast in 2021 from previous deforestation trends.  

In the future, we plan to add the DRI to the Cocoa Accountability Map in a dedicated layer to allow visualization of the results in relation to other relevant data. 


We have added the legal registered pisteurs to our Cocoa Accountability page. We are in the process of integrating them into our map; this is not done yet. 

The government should ensure that only legal pisteurs are buying and selling cocoa (this is currently not the case), and train them, register them, and disclose them.



Pisteurs” are what can be called “direct” cocoa buyers. They often work outside of more formal cooperatives (office, staff, ongoing relations with farmers and populations). The “pisteurs” go directly to the farms’ outskirts to collect the cocoa by paying cash. They usually buy for cheaper than the official price because they pay money in cash and without delay. The speed of the transaction makes its traceability difficult. This difficulty is alleviated when the trackers are declared because information can be obtained on their activities. Unfortunately, there are many underground trackers whose purchases are difficult to trace. 

Quality of Education Map

This Map will be launched by Envaritas and partners in March 2021 after which they will provide much more information on their revolutionary work.

Human rights should be monitored alongside environmental problems.  A joint monitoring mechanism that considers both planet and people would ensure synergy in identifying ways in which these abuses intersect and be more efficient as much of the monitoring needed (like supply chains and land use) would be duplicative. 

The Quality of Education Index assess education quality in cocoa-growing regions of Cote d’Ivoire highlighting areas of potential child labor. Drawing on data from 2,100 primary schools and 7,400 households, the index identifies priority areas for educational improvement. Working Toward a Cocoa Accountability Map for Ghana

Ghana is the second largest exporter of cocoa beans. Deforestation in Ghana remains a major problem, particularly in the High Forest Zone of the South West. Ghana has already lost more than 80% of its forest cover since 1950s. It was the fastest deforesting tropical country in 2018 and has a growing deforestation rate of about 3.5% per annum. Deforestation is mainly driven by conversion of lands to cocoa farms, particularly primary forests on private lands. This breaks the CFI zero deforestation commitment of the government and of leading chocolate and cocoa companies to no further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production. Forest Reserves also continue to be threatened by cocoa farm expansion. This map shows the urgency for farm level traceability to eliminate such deforestation tainted cocoa.  



Land use map of Ghana

This is the official 2019 Land Use Map of Ghana produced by the Resource Management and Support Centre of the Ghana Forestry Commission and is published on the Ecometrica platform. It shows where monoculture cocoa and shaded cocoa is grown along with forest cover and other crops. Details of the Ecometrica platform can be found here.

A good land use map is one building block of a publicly available joint monitoring mechanism to address deforestation. Ghana is far behind in developing this sort of mechanism. Now it is up to the government and the cocoa industry to muster the will and resources to follow through on their commitments under CFI


Supply Chain Research

U.S. Cocoa Imports (French)

Mighty Earth and Stand.Earth partnered together to undertake preliminary cocoa supply chain research to improve our understanding of how cocoa enters the U.S.—the biggest chocolate market in the world. Though the results confirm a lot we know already, some new revelations are stunning. Our findings uncovered a damning story of the action of a few dominant traders, the secrecy in cocoa/chocolate imports, an international web of opaque cocoa-laundering, and a cover-up of corporate value captured from poor producer countries.


Trase is an independent supply chain transparency initiative, publishing detailed data and insights covering 50% of the global trade in forest-risk commodities. Trase seeks to transform our understanding of agricultural commodity supply chains by increasing transparency, revealing the links to environmental and social risks in tropical forest regions, and creating opportunities to improve the sustainability of how these commodities are produced, traded and consumed. For cocoa, Trase currently publishes national-level trade data for Peru and Colombia and subnational data for Brazil, with subnational data for Cote d’Ivoire available from early 2021.

Deforestation throughout the years in Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire has struggled with deforestation due to cocoa for more than a century.  Following independence from France, Côte d’Ivoire lost more than 70% of its forest cover with even higher rates in protected areas. 

From 2015 to 2020, the trend has fluctuated depending on the quality of monitoring and the commitment of actors in forest protection. Despite the promises made by the government and its partners within the CFI framework at the end of 2017, extensive agriculture has remained the main deforestation driver (62% with 38% due to cocoa). If firm measures are not taken, it is expected that Cote d’Ivoire will no longer be considered a forest country in less than 15 years.  

However, according to some sources, over the past two years, it has experienced a fragile and relative stabilization. 



Supermarkets Across Europe Drop Brazilian Beef Over Deforestation Linked to Meat Giant JBS

Six Maps that Explain the Ivory Coast Cocoa Crisis

In 2017, Mighty Earth partnered with MapHubs to map deforestation linked to Cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire. Leo Bottrill and Kris Carle, MapHubs’ Founders, explain through six maps how this was possible.



Behind the Wrapper

The chocolate industry’s November 2017 declaration promised a more sustainable future, so that chocolate lovers could finally enjoy their guilty pleasure without a guilty conscience. At the time, Mighty Earth praised the companies and country commitments as among the best of any private sector initiative aimed at protecting the environment. At the end of 2018, the lead-up to the oneyear anniversary of CFI, we deployed a combination of satellites, drones, and on-the-ground field teams to check up on how (and whether) these commitments are being implemented. Unfortunately, we found that despite the promises made by industry and government, forest destruction in West Africa for cocoa has continued, and that big companies as well as the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana hold responsibility for this continued – but avoidable – destruction. 


State and Trends of Deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire (2019-2020)

  • From 1986 to 2019, the amount of primary forest in Cote d’Ivoire fell from 15%-9% of the total territory.    
  • Between June 2019 and May 2020, 68,000 hectares of primary forest, 2.2% of remaining forest, were lost in Côte d’Ivoire.  
  • Over that same period, approximately 16,259 hectares of legally protected forest have disappeared.      
  • 75% of the deforestation has taken place in rural forests.  Forêts Classées account for 21% of forest losses and Parc Nationale 3%. 
  • While cocoa is still driving deforestation elsewhere in the country, the drivers of deforestation in the center east may be connected to cashew farming. 
  • Ongoing losses have left a landscape of fragmented forests at higher risk of further deforestation.   But the protection of Tai National Park shows that protection of forests is possible. 



Update on Deforestation in Southwest Cote d’Ivoire

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Additional Resources

Tracking Long Term (1990-2020) Deforestation 

Cameroon Land Cover Maps