Building a business case for forest-friendly commodities in Côte d’Ivoire

  • Year

    2013 – 2016

  • Location

    Côte d’Ivoire

  • Partners

    National REDD+ Commission, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Planning, SalvaTerra, Solidaridad

  • Budget

    EUR 130 000


The EU REDD Facility supported the work of the National REDD+ Secretariat in Côte d’Ivoire to develop a strategy for engaging effectively with the agricultural sector and private actors. The innovative project engaged national commodity producer associations in discussions on decoupling deforestation and production of commodities.

Through roundtables that gathered stakeholders in supply chains for cocoa, rice, palm oil and rubber, and participatory cost-benefit analyses of business-as-usual and deforestation-free scenarios, the project sought to gain interest and buy-in from the private sector in green commodities.

The objective

The overall objective of the pilot project was to assist the National REDD+ Secretariat to develop a roadmap to decouple agricultural production and deforestation by engaging with private-sector stakeholders involved in commodity supply chains that drive deforestation. Gaining interest and buy-in from the private sector in forest-friendly green production was a first step in developing the roadmap.

The challenge

Deforestation driven by commodity production, in particular cocoa production, has led to the loss of most of the natural forests in Côte d’Ivoire. REDD+ incentives alone are unlikely to make a difference given the profitable returns from commercial agriculture. Engaging the private agricultural sector on green commodities is essential to have an effect on decoupling agricultural production and deforestation.

“Through participatory cost-benefit analysis, national stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire, including the private sector, have realised that it is possible to produce cocoa, rice, palm oil and other products without deforestation.”

Technical team grafting cocoa trees in a demo-plot, Côte d’Ivoire

The approach

The project approach was to:

  1. Organise roundtables with private-sector stakeholders in commodity supply chains, such as cocoa, to discuss the future of commodity production in Côte d’Ivoire
  2. Organise participatory exercises to define a business-as-usual and a green/deforestation-free scenario for each supply chain
  3. Collect detailed data for each supply chain to compare the costs and benefits for each scenario
  4. Develop a user-friendly land-use cost-benefit simulator

Results and impact


  • The project gathered key stakeholders in commodity supply chains at roundtables where they discussed the future of commodity production in Côte d’Ivoire
  • For each supply chain, participatory exercises detailed the costs and benefits of a business-as-usual with no restrictions on deforestation, and of a green scenario phasing out deforestation as soon as possible
  • Stakeholders:
    • Realised that decoupling agricultural production from deforestation is technically possible in Côte d’Ivoire 2015-2030
    • Recognised that green commodities make good business sense as they return over 10% on investment and tend to have a positive impact on employment
    • Appreciated that a transition to green commodities would take about 6 years, during which Côte d’Ivoire would bear significant opportunity and investment costs
    • Identified policy measures to promote deforestation-free supply chains
  • Project staff used the data on costs and benefits collected for each supply chain to develop a cost-benefit simulator that stakeholders can update and use to compare different scenarios
  • The National REDD+ Secretariat used the cost-benefit analysis to develop a strong REDD+ roadmap (Readiness Preparation Proposal) with a focus on decoupling agricultural production and deforestation
  • A policy brief summarised the results and identified policy measures for promoting deforestation-free supply chains


  • The National REDD+ Secretariat presented the results of the cost-benefit analyses to advise the Presidency’s cabinet ahead of the 2014 New York summit on Climate. At the summit, the President of the Republic announced that Côte d’Ivoire will shift to zero deforestation cocoa from 2017.
  • National commodity platforms for cocoa, palm oil and rubber partnered with the National REDD+ Secretariat to collaborate on decoupling deforestation from commodity production.
  • Private companies interested in shifting to deforestation-free production see the National REDD+ Secretariat as a key partner to implement their deforestation-free commitments.
  • The Côte d’Ivoire Ministry of Planning is preparing to use the land-use cost-benefit tool to inform participatory land-use planning at jurisdictional level.
  • The interactive cost-benefit tool developed by the pilot project has been further developed as a user-friendly online ‘Land-use Planner’ for use in other contexts where commodity production drives deforestation. The tool has been used to collaborate with other countries to reduce deforestation in commodity trade.
  • Through this supply-chain approach, the project helped to bring REDD+ processes closer to FLEGT, facilitating regular exchanges between national units for REDD+ and FLEGT and building a foundation for broad REDD+-FLEGT collaboration.

“A growing cocoa supply chain without deforestation, yes we can do it, and we are going to do it.”

Papaya plantation in Côte d’Ivoire.