Mondelez International has announced a plan to invest over $400 million dollars into improving sustainability for their suppliers in several chocolate-producing countries over the next ten years, with a specific focus on key regions for cocoa farmers, including those in developing regions.
The chocolate giant is the parent company of Cadbury, making it the single largest provider of sweet, chocolatey treats the world over. With so much business under its belt the company is capable of having a truly profound impact on the economies of some of these nations. It’s not a charitable effort however, as the plan will expand their business to help the company meet rising demand.
The program is called ‘Cocoa Life’, and it aims to increase production while improving living and working conditions for workers in Ghana, India, Brazil, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, and the world’s largest cocoa producer, Côte d’Ivoire– or the Ivory Coast.
This follows Cadbury’s $70 million dollar investment in similar programs specifically in Ghana, where they have already seen a 20 percent increase in yields from participating farmers. With such success, Mondelez International is greatly expanding the model to include more farmers in more countries, and to go even further in its goals.
They also plan to reduce the environmental impact of their industry in these areas, which is a big step for a very large company to take in its efforts. This is the kind of thing that could greatly benefit the farmers and the locals in key regions, in conjunction with the other initiatives being launched.
Côte d’Ivoire has been specifically targeted for a lion’s share of the benefits, with more than $100 million going to the over 75,000 farmers in the nation for whom chocolate makes up a sizeable portion of exports.
Similar initiatives have been launched recently by competing companies, such as Nestle. Others such as Mars, Hershey and Ferrero, have all made a commitment to sourcing only 100% certified cocoa.
At the World Cocoa Conference in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, the executive vice president and president of Mondelez Europe spoke about the program’s goals. “Our mission is to create thriving cocoa communities and help secure the future of the cocoa industry,” said Tim Cofer.
The $400 million is to be doled out over the next decade, with the full amount expected to be spent by 2022. Within the industry the program is being embraced as a great step by the world’s largest producer of chocolate, and one that should hopefully see the cocoa business continuing on the path to sustainability while keeping the needs of farmers and communities at the forefront.