Mondelēz International, a multinational confectionery, food and beverage corporation, has announced plans to invest $400 million over the next ten years to improve the livelihoods of more than 200,000 cocoa farmers, their families and communities in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Brazil, Dominican Republic, India and Indonesia. Building on their core values and a goal to sustainability source 100% of its European coffee by 2015, Mondelēz hopes to create win-win relationships that benefit farming communities.
Cocoa beans are in high demand across the world, and production of cocoa involves over 14 million people in more than 30 developing countries. However, this cash crop has had massive repercussions both economically and environmentally for centuries, with many cocoa farmers and their families living below poverty lines, struggling to meet basic needs.
Focusing on key areas such as higher incomes for more productive farming, community empowerment, inspiring young people and conserving the environment, the Mondelēz approach is to develop a sustainable cocoa supply from thriving communities around the world. Sustainability Director Jonathan Horrell said that while they have already seen positive results, “investments like this take a few years of support before they begin to thrive.”
"Cocoa Life" will become the conglomerates largest, most comprehensive cocoa sustainability effort and, as the world’s largest chocolate company, they plan to collaborate with governments, NGOs and suppliers. “We’re investing in much more than farming — it’s about empowering cocoa communities as a whole so cocoa-farming villages become places where people want to live,” said Bharat Puri, Senior Vice President, Global Chocolate for Mondelēz.
Their mission to transform the cocoa supply chain is based on the successful Cadbury Cocoa Partnership in Ghana, India and the Dominican Republic, where Mondelēz has seen a 20% increase in cocoa yields along with a 200% increase in household incomes.
We can only see this as a positive step for Mondelēz, and we hope that it inspires other companies to recognize the importance of making a difference in the communities that help produce their goods, be it edible or otherwise.