MondelÄz International Inc. (NASDAQ: MDLZ) unveiled “Cocoa Life”—the company’s largest, most comprehensive cocoa sustainability effort to date. As the world’s largest chocolate company, it will invest $400 million over the next ten years to improve the livelihoods and living conditions of more 200,000 cocoa farmers and about one million people in cocoa farming communities. Cocoa Life will bring a $100 million new investment to Côte d’Ivoire—the world’s largest cocoa producing country—to help 75,000 farmers double their productivity.
“I’m proud of MondelÄz International’s $400 million investment in Cocoa Life—a distinctive, holistic approach to cocoa sustainability that will create a cycle of growth from bean to bar,” said Tim Cofer, Executive Vice President and President, Europe, speaking from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire at the World Cocoa Conference. “Our mission is to create thriving cocoa communities and help secure the future of the cocoa industry.”
Cocoa Life will collaborate with governments, civil society and suppliers with a mission to transform the cocoa supply chain. The company is already working with third party experts such the United Nations Development Program, the World Wildlife Fund and Anti-Slavery International to develop a robust set of principles for success and ways to measure progress.
“At the heart of Cocoa Life is our belief in improving the lives of cocoa farmers,” said Bharat Puri, Senior Vice President, Global Chocolate. “We’re investing in much more than farming—it’s about empowering cocoa communities as a whole so cocoa farming villages become places where people want to live.”
Cocoa Life’s approach is to create win-win relationships and benefit farming communities by working with partners in four key ways:
• Farming: helping farmers improve their yields and livelihoods to earn larger incomes.
• Community: empowering cocoa farming families to create the kind of communities they and their children want to live in, while promoting gender equality.
• Youth: working towards eliminating child labor by helping communities tackle its root causes. Making cocoa farming a more attractive profession for the next generation.
• Environment: protecting the landscapes in which cocoa is grown to maintain ecosystems and provide viable environments and farming land for future generations.
Cocoa Life is based on MondelÄz International’s successful Cadbury Cocoa Partnership in Ghana, India and the Dominican Republic. In Ghana, the Partnership has helped create a 20 percent increase in cocoa yields, a 200 percent increase in household incomes and an 80 percent increase in government-backed development projects in the first phases of the project between 2009 and 2011. The company continues to expand its reach to more communities in Ghana and extended the partnership to the Dominican Republic in 2011. And in India, the company has been working directly with cocoa farmers for 50 years.
Cocoa Life reflects MondelÄz International’s core values and builds on its previous commitments, including its goal to sustainably source 100 percent of its European coffee by 2015 and its “Coffee Made Happy” initiative to invest at least $200 million to empower one million coffee farming entrepreneurs by 2020.