Earthwatch and Cadbury Schweppes launched their joint field research project, Cocoa Farming and Biodiversity, in Ghana in May.
DAVE HILLYARD, DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMME DEVELOPMENT, EARTHWATCH
The idea for the project arose from the recognition that Earthwatch and Cadbury Schweppes both have a strong interest in Ghana - Earthwatch from a conservation perspective and Cadbury because it sources its cocoa beans there.
Our project includes research into the impacts on the natural environment of different cocoa-growing regimes, the development of an ecotourism initiative for cocoa farmers so they can diversify and improve their livelihoods, and the training and education of Ghanaian students.
So far, Cadbury has been flexible and supportive and has recognised that this is a jointly owned project for which we share responsibility. For instance, when there was a 50 per cent increase in fuel tax duty, Cadbury increased its financial support to the project, which was very valuable and necessary.
The project has enabled Earthwatch to develop a valuable field project in Ghana, which will support both farming communities and nature conservation. It has strengthened our relationship with Cadbury - we are now developing a much more meaningful engagement with it.
NEIL MAKIN, EXTERNAL AFFAIRS DIRECTOR, CADBURY SCHWEPPES
Before I became external affairs director in 1997, Cadbury had been talking about possible tie-ups with wildlife charities and had a deep interest in cause-related marketing.
Our Ghana project is a development of this. When I started, we joined Earthwatch's corporate environmental responsibility group and started to build issues of biodiversity into our environmental programme. We got involved because there was a growing interest in sustainable agriculture in the food sector. This was especially relevant to us because we've been sourcing cocoa from Ghana for 100 years.
Our most visible model is the Ghana project, for which we are donating £90,000 over three years. Twenty Cadbury employees from around the world will also join the research teams as field assistants for two weeks to learn and understand more about local communities and sustainable cocoa production.
We don't have biodiversity experts - Earthwatch helps by using its own scientific teams to model sustainable farming methods. The project is also in our interests as it will ensure a commercially viable source of cocoa beans for the future.