Chocolate giant, Mondelez International, is set to inject an additional $600 million into its cocoa sustainability programme, Cocoa Life, as it marks 10 years of the intervention.
“We are proud to announce the next phase of our Cocoa Life program, backed by an additional $600 million through 2030, for a total $1 billion investment since the start of the program,” the company said.
Mondelez International’s goal is to increase cocoa volume at scale and work with about 300,000 farmers in the program by 2030.
An official statement explained that with this investment, the company aims to catalyze ground-breaking sector collaboration to help address systemic environmental and human rights challenges and improve cocoa farmer livelihoods.
“As one of the world’s leading snacking companies, it is a priority to continue making our most important ingredients, such as cocoa, right, and Cocoa Life sits at the heart of this strategy,” said Dirk Van de Put, Chairman & CEO, Mondelēz International.
“While we are excited about the promise of our investments, we are calling for more sector-wide effort and actions to drive greater impact, including new private-public partnerships, as we aim to catalyze ground-breaking collaboration to help move cocoa forward together,” he added.
Cocoa Life was introduced in 2012 to secure a supply of more sustainable cocoa and establish an integrated approach striving to tackle the root causes of systemic issues in cocoa including farm productivity, farmer livelihoods, community development, and helping combat child labour and deforestation, together in one program.
Ten years on, the program has reached critical scale with over 200,000 farmers in the program, $400 million invested by the end of 2022 and measurable impact results including:
- Farmer net incomes have increased ~15% in Ghana and ~33% in Cote d’Ivoire
- Cocoa yields are higher, with double-digit percentage increases in farmers earning a living income
- 61% of Cocoa Life communities in West Africa covered with Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems, with a goal to reach 100% by 2025
According to Mondelez, key lessons from the past 10 years will allow enable them to accelerate the Cocoa Life program and go further, faster, as more work remains to be done.
It said these learnings include applying an integrated approach to help deliver impact at scale suited to the farmer, community, and landscape; focusing on enabling farmers to increase their income; and accelerating innovation in cocoa production supported by incentives designed to professionalize smallholder cocoa farming and introduce climate-resilient, new producing models.
By 2030, Cocoa Life aims to increase the number of farming households reaching a living income, enhance child protection systems and access to quality education in Cocoa Life communities, and seek no deforestation on Cocoa Life farms globally.
The Cocoa Life program focus areas will include farmer income, child protection and education and no deforestation.
“As we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Cocoa Life, we are excited to announce the next phase,” said Christine Montenegro McGrath, Senior Vice President and Chief Impact and Sustainability Officer, Mondelēz International.
“While progress and impact have been made, cocoa farmers and their communities are still facing big challenges. We are passionate about helping to drive lasting change across the whole cocoa sector and are doubling down on Cocoa Life’s integrated approach because we know only a sector-wide long-term strategy, supported by action by all industry players, producing and consuming governments, and civil society will lead to lasting impact.”
With sustainability now one of the four pillars of the company’s long-term growth strategy – aiming to create long-term value for the business and its stakeholders along the value chain – this investment builds on key lessons learned through the Cocoa Life’s integrated approach and 10 years of measurable impact results while aiming to accelerate impact at scale in cocoa.
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