Here are three recent news items about United Cacao, the corporation that claims to be producing 'sustainable' cacao -- the main ingredient in chocolate -- but has been accused by ALERT of destroying over 2,000 hectares of biodiversity-rich rainforest in Peru.
1) In recent days the share price of United Cacao has fallen by around $25, a 14% drop in its share value.
2) We have just learned that on 9 December 2014, the Peruvian subsidiary of United Cacao -- known as Cacao del Peru Norte -- was ordered by the Peruvian Agricultural Ministry to halt agricultural operations on one of its key properties, named Fundo Tamshivacu, which is located in Mavnas Province.
3) Alarmingly, we have also learned -- via recent reports in the Peruvian newspaper La Region (see here, here, and here) -- that at least 45,000 hectares of forested land in the Peruvian Amazon has been sold to subsidiary companies controlled by Dennis Melka, the owner of United Cacao.
This suggests that much larger forest-clearing operations could be planned for the near future -- although whether this would be for cacao, or for another crop such as oil palm, is unknown.
As can be seen below, these five properties adjoin the 2,000-hectare block (in orange) that was recently cleared by Cacao del Peru Norte:
Please pass the word: Be strongly advised that investments in United Cacao or any of its Peruvian subsidiaries are likely to promote large-scale forest destruction. It is the opinion of ALERT scientists that this corporation should be shunned by any investor who cares about the environment.
Our continued thanks to scientists and journalists working in the region for these updates, especially John C. Cannon and the leading environmental website, Mongabay.com.