Cadbury owner Mondelez International has announced plans to invest $400m in its cocoa supply chain over the next ten years.
Its ‘Cocoa Life’ program aims to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and cocoa growing communities.
Around $100 of the money will be spent in the largest cocoa growing nation, Ivory Coast, which Mondelez says will help 75,000 farmers double their output. The announcement was made at the World Cocoa Conference currently taking place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, this week
Antonie Fountain, director of STOP THE TRAFFIK Netherlands, said in October that the pressure was on Mondelez to make a sustainable cocoa pledge after Mars, Ferrero and Hershey had all committed to sourcing 100% certified cocoa and Nestlé had adopted its own Cocoa Plan.
Today, he welcomed the move.
“$400 million is a lot of money, which might do a lot of good. It'll obviously depend on how the money is spent. How many goes towards the farmers & local projects, how much stays in overhead.
“It looks like a decent step. At the same time, it's something that the world's largest cocoa company also should be making, so we're happy that they're taking their responsibility,” he said.
Not relying on certification
Ricard Buino, external communications at Mondelez told this site: “Cocoa Life's focus is direct investment in our cocoa supply chain, not just buying certified cocoa.
“That said, our existing certification partnerships with Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade continue — as certification is one tool to help achieve sustainability.”
In 2011, Mondelez was the world’s largest buyer of Fairtrade Certified cocoa (20,000 tons) and purchased 15,00 tons of Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa.
Buino said that Mondelez’s previous sustainable cocoa program, Cocoa Partnership, a $70m, 10-year investment initiated by Cadbury in 2008, would continue under Cocoa Life.
Investment in Ghana, India, Brazil and Dominican Republic
Cocoa Partnership started in Ghana and last year expanded to the Dominican Republic.
Mondelez is now investing heavily in the Ivory Coast and plans to dedicate $100m to Ghana and the remaining $200m shared between Brazil, Dominican Republic and India.
Asked what percentage of Mondelez’s cocoa supply will be sourced under the Cocoa Life program, Buino said: “Our ultimate goal is for all our cocoa to be sustainably sourced through Cocoa Life — while right now it's too early to give an exact date for this, but in the meantime, we will report annually on progress towards our goals. “
Mondelez said that Cocoa Life will collaborate with actors through the supply chain including government and suppliers.
The company is working with the United Nations Development Program, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Anti-Slavery International to establish ways to measure success.
Mondelez said it was basing its Cocoa Life program on four principles: higher incomes from more productive farming, community empowerment, inspiring young people and conserving the environment.
ADM and Cargill
The announcement came as ADM’s cocoa division said that it had reached a memorandum of understanding with Swisscontact, a Zurich based international development agency, and the Government of West Sumatra on sustainable cocoa sourcing.
Cargill also recently announced that approximately 26,500 Ivorian farmers from 43 UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certified cooperatives had received Cargill’s sustainable cocoa premiums payments worth $7.6 million in the 2011/12 crop season.