Mondelēz claims significant progress in identifying human rights risks in its supply chain

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Mondelēz International said it partners with almost 210,000 farmers in over 2,500 communities through its Cocoa Life Programme.
Mondelēz International said it partners with almost 210,000 farmers in over 2,500 communities through its Cocoa Life Programme.

Related tags Mondelez International

Mondelēz International has released its annual Human Rights Due Diligence and Modern Slavery report for 2021, demonstrating, it claims, progress against its 2025 ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) goals.

The report confirms progress made toward the company’s goals to prevent, identify, and address potential human rights and modern slavery risks in its own operations and supply chains.

Earlier this year, the Cadbury Dairy Milk and Oreo owner was accused of child labour violations in its cocoa supply chain in Ghana in a British TV exposé​. According to the documentary, children as young as 10 were alleged to still be working on farms that supply beans to Mondelēz through the company's Cocoa Life sustainability programme.

So far, the company has not responded directly to the allegations, but said in a statement on its financial results: ‘No amount of child labour in the cocoa supply chain should be acceptable’.

Through its 10-year old signature cocoa sourcing program Cocoa Life, Mondelēz International said it partners with almost 210,000 farmers in over 2,500 communities and has invested over £400m to support farmers’ livelihoods.

In 2021, Mondelēz more than doubled its progress towards its goal to establish Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) in all its Cocoa Life communities in West Africa by 2025. The programme expanded coverage to 1,548 communities, reaching 61% coverage in West Africa.

Preventing and addressing child labour across the West African cocoa sector requires cross-sector collaboration. In 2021, the umbrella International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) – composed of Mondelēz International and peer companies, suppliers and NGOs – reached 590,000 households across Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana with systems that help prevent and address child labour.

Through our flagship ingredient sourcing programme Cocoa Life, we are learning from our decade of experience on the ground in cocoa communities about the importance of living income​,” said Laura Stein, Executive Vice President for Corporate & Legal Affairs and General Counsel, Mondelēz International. “Building on our ongoing focus on promoting human rights, we joined the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) Living Wage roadmap to help advance living wage and income in global supply chains. We will also work with our suppliers with the goal of having all our strategic suppliers engaged on a living wage roadmap by 2030​.”

Quality education

Mondelēz said it is also investing CHF 3 million towards improving children’s access to quality education in cocoa-growing regions. Lack of access to schooling is a key root cause of child labour, which can only be addressed systemically, it claims. The company is investing in two initiatives focused on improving access to education: The Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF) – which brings together the government of Cote d’Ivoire, peer companies and foundations – as well as the Early Learning and Nutrition (ELAN) initiative, led by the Jacobs Foundation.

The goal of these investments is to improve access to and quality of education for 5 million children, reaching 90% of rural primary schools in Côte d’Ivoire, through the construction of 2,500 classrooms and proven interventions to improve teaching quality​,” it says in its report.

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