DEERFIELD, Ill., March 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mondelēz International today announced ambitious and industry-leading plans to protect and restore forests in cocoa-growing regions, in an effort to secure a sustainable future for cocoa by making farms more resilient to climate change. The plans cover the company's two largest cocoa-sourcing markets, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, as well as our third largest, Indonesia.Our commitment to sustainably-produced cocoa reflects the company's purpose to empower people to snack right. As one of the world's largest chocolate makers, the company has been using its scale to drive change in the cocoa supply chain for many years and launched its 10-year, $400 million Cocoa Life program in 2012 with the aim to reach more than 200,000 farmers across six countries."Our plans to combat deforestation in cocoa include a commitment to map 100% of the farms that supply Mondelēz International's Cocoa Life program by the end of 2019," said Cedric van Cutsem, Associate Director, Operations, Cocoa Life. "Mapping and monitoring farms will give us a deeper understanding of farmers' needs so we can help drive effective change. In addition, our plans include financial incentives that will encourage farmers and communities to protect and renew forest areas."In 2015, Mondelēz International was the first company to raise the issue of deforestation in the cocoa industry at the COP21 summit in Paris and the first chocolate maker to sign Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the governments of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire."Mondelēz International is a key partner in the Cocoa & Forests Initiative in Côte d'Ivoire. Their action plan is in full compliance with the strategy of preservation, rehabilitation and scaling up adopted by the Government in January 2019," said Alain-Richard Donwahi, Minister of Forests and Water Resources, Côte d'Ivoire. "I am impressed by their continued commitment to protecting and restoring forests, as demonstrated by this action plan. Together, we hope to create a dynamic and solid cocoa supply chain while transforming the livelihoods of farmers and their communities."