Mondelēz International today published its third annual progress report for its signature sustainable sourcing program, Cocoa Life. The report shows that Cocoa Life is delivering on its mission of creating a strong cocoa supply chain while transforming lives and livelihoods, addressing deforestation and building resilience to climate change across six cocoa origin countries: Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, India and Brazil.
By the end of 2017, the program reached 120,500 farmers (up 31% compared to 2016) in 1,085 communities (up 26%). Through Cocoa Life, the company also increased its sourcing of sustainable cocoa to 35%, up 14 points from 2016. Cocoa sustainably sourced through Cocoa Life was expanded to more products, including the full Cadbury Dairy Milk line in the UK and Ireland as well as Oreo cookies in Europe, connecting even more consumers who enjoy Mondelēz International brands to cocoa farmers.
Christine Montenegro McGrath, Chief Well-being, Sustainability, Public & Government Affairs Officer at Mondelēz International said: “Cocoa Life is essential to our business, and I’m proud to see the progress we’ve made on the ground, working directly in cocoa communities. This year’s Cocoa Life Progress Report shares significant accomplishments in securing the future of cocoa and thus, the future of our beloved chocolate for our consumers. As we source more of our cocoa sustainably through Cocoa Life, we’re helping cocoa communities thrive.”
Cocoa Life’s holistic approach addresses diverse challenges in cocoa farming communities by focusing on five main areas. Achievements by the end of 2017 include:
- Farming: Trained 88,134 farmers and distributed nearly 5.8 million cocoa seedlings to increase productivity and promote growth of higher quality cocoa.
- Community: Facilitated the development of Community Action Plans in more than 1,000 communities, helping them identify their needs and secure resources. These plans are driven and owned by the communities and give women a voice in decision-making.
- Livelihoods: Provided nearly 52,000 community members, mostly women, with access to finance and improved their financial literacy through 1,828 operational Village Savings and Loan Associations. Members use these funds for investments, start-up capital for new businesses, farm rehabilitation, children’s school fees and farm labour.
- Youth: Established Child Protection Committees in 516 communities, building on our holistic interventions to tackle the root causes of child labour. Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) are operational in 137 of these communities; another 166 are receiving CLMRS training in Ghana.
- Environment: Trained nearly 68,200 community members on Good Environmental Practices and distributed more than one million shade trees to conserve natural ecosystems and provide viable environments for future generations.
Increasing cocoa farmers’ resilience to climate change was another important area of work for Cocoa Life in 2017. Cocoa Life entered agreements with local governments and NGOs to help address deforestation and forest degradation in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire through several initiatives, including environmental and forest conservation training, mapping cocoa farms, monitoring protected land and distributing shade trees. It also joined the World Cocoa Foundation and the Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit to establish the Cocoa & Forests Initiative with 11 other cocoa and chocolate companies.
Cocoa Life continuously identifies opportunities to scale up by working with independent partners to measure success and share on-the-ground learnings. This year, Ipsos published its impact evaluation of Cocoa Life efforts in Indonesia and impact studies for cocoa origins in West Africa are underway.
Cathy Pieters, Program Director, Cocoa Life said: “We started Cocoa Life five years ago, and now is an important time for us to reflect on our progress. Based on our achievements and learnings to date, we remain committed to our holistic, community-based approach. In the coming year, we’ll continue working to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their families, with a focus on climate change resilience, child labour prevention and women’s empowerment.”