A major milestone to accelerate our journey

Progress Blog
A major milestone to accelerate our journey

By Cathy Pieters, Global Director Cocoa Life - 04/30/19

Just as the Cadbury brothers did over 100 years ago, Cocoa Life is on the ground, working hand-in-hand with our NGO and supply chain partners and the men and women who grow our cocoa. We’re on a mission to transform the sector and ensure a sustainable supply of cocoa for chocolate lovers today and in the future.

We have long held the belief that integrity and accountability are as important as sun and water, which is why today, I’m very proud to be launching our Cocoa Life 2018 Annual Report. This report outlines the actions we’re taking to achieve this mission, and the encouraging results we’re observing and learning from.

These results give us confidence that our holistic approach is right. For that reason, we are accelerating our impact and I’m proud to say that by 2025, all Mondelēz International’s chocolate brands will source their cocoa from Cocoa Life. This means millions more consumers across the world can be confident that the brands they love are made the right way.

"Only by tackling the complex challenges farmers face can we secure cocoa farming for generations to come. That’s where Cocoa Life, our signature cocoa sustainability program, comes in."

Dirk Van de Put, Chief Executive Officer, Mondelēz International

David Mclaughlin
Encouraging results

We believe efficient farming practices lead to financial security. So the fact that our results show cocoa yields continuously increasing is truly encouraging. Yet progress takes time and unfolds differently in different situations. That is why we will focus on targeted farmer training schemes, for which our pilots have already shown promising results: in some cases farmers have doubled the return on investment from their land.

A sustainable cocoa supply begins with empowered cocoa farmers, which is why it’s encouraging to see that more than 1,400 communities are now able to steer their own development. Of these, 92% have Community Action Plans in place, most of which are backed by funding and in many cases this is from the public sector. This means that cocoa growing communities themselves have become part of the solution.

Conserving the land and forests is a promise to future generations and so I’m pleased that, having already mapped 63% of Cocoa Life farms in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia, we know they are not in priority protected forests. We will continue to systematically include Good Environmental Practices coaching and promote Payment for Environmental services models that incentivize farmers and communities to restore the forest.

Earlier this month I spent some time in the Sikaboutou community in Côte d’Ivoire - which you can read about in the report. What I saw was a thriving community. A strong and inclusive Community Development Committee works in harmony with the traditional chiefs to execute their Community Action Plan. Women have created their own streams of income, supported by savings and loans groups. I witnessed how they can now co-decide how the household’s money is spent and have been able to send their daughters to school, as well as their sons. The District government representative is fully included and supportive of the community’s development, soon to become an official village. This experience reminded me of how proud I am to be part of Cocoa Life.

Making cocoa right

Cocoa is the essence of our chocolate, so we must ensure it is made right. Making it right means independently evaluating our impact and course-correcting where needed, to ensure Cocoa Life can expand its positive impact at scale. In order to deliver on our 2025 commitment, our program is focusing its activities on the key areas of intervention where we can make the most difference: Cocoa farming as a prosperous business; Cocoa communities are empowered and inclusive; Forests are conserved and restored.

But our impact to date has only been possible through working in partnership and by listening to the wisdom of our external advisors. Future success will not be found by acting alone. Our experience on the ground tells us that we need a sector wide, long-term strategy, supported by coordinated action. That means every member of the sector – whether they are chocolate companies or governments – taking responsibility for contributing to and delivering against broader strategies, and forming public-private partnerships that share best practices. And this coordinated action must follow a holistic approach to tackle root causes and make cocoa farming a prosperous business of choice for farmers.

We are building a movement for lasting change, to lead the way in making cocoa right. We hope our encouraging results and the learnings in this report inspire players from across the sector to join the movement.

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