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 percent compared to 2016) in 1,085 communities (up 26 percent). Through Cocoa Life, the company also increased its sourcing of sustainable cocoa to 35 percent, up 14 percentage points from 2016. Cocoa sustainably sourced through Cocoa Life was expanded to more products, including the full Cadbury Dairy Milk line in the U.K. and Ireland as well as Oreo cookies in Europe, connecting even more consumers who enjoy Mondelēz International brands to cocoa farmers.
“Cocoa Life has truly changed our farms by giving us training so that we can protect the environment and have sustainable cocoa production,” said Ohena Boafo, cocoa farmer and Union President of West Akyem Co-operative Cocoa Farmers & Marketing Union Ltd. “Before Cocoa Life, my farm had old and diseased trees that were not able to bear enough fruit. I harvested about 20 bags for the whole year. Since joining this program, I have replanted my farm and now produce more than 100 bags a year. With this additional income, I can take good care of my wife and my children.”
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 labor.
– Youth: Established Child Protection Committees in 516 communities, building on our holistic interventions to tackle the root causes of child labor. Child Labor 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.
“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,” said Christine Montenegro McGrath, Chief Well-being, Sustainability, Public & Government Affairs Officer. “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.”
Increasing cocoa farmers’ resilience to climate change continued to be an 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 partnered with 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.