NEW PARTNER IPSOS PROVIDES THIRD-PARTY VERIFICATION
By Meghann Jones, Vice President of Public Affairs for Ipsos North America - 01/19/17
To learn what works — or doesn’t — an outside perspective is important. That’s the role Ipsos plays as Cocoa Life’s new partner. As an independent research agency, our job is to provide a third-party verification of the program’s impact in all of the cocoa origins.
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We do this with three-year impact evaluations and yearly assessments for each cohort of farmers that enters the Cocoa Life program. The aim is to determine how the program is performing against 10 global Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in its five focus areas: farming, community, livelihoods, youth and environment.
The assessments analyze data collected from Cocoa Life farmers and communities through surveys, qualitative focus groups, in-depth interviews and observational work. We also interview farmers and farmer organizations to trace cocoa volumes and premiums between farmer organizations and individual farmers. This new “last mile” verification will complement the existing supply chain verification framework. FLOCERT, another Cocoa Life partner, tracks this information between farmer organizations, local collectors, suppliers and Mondelēz. Together, our work creates transparency along the entire cocoa supply chain.
It’s a complex project, and we’re equipped for the job. Ipsos has research offices in all of the origins, each with their own team of professional interviewers. They are experienced in implementing studies in the cocoa sector, and undergo in-depth training for data collection for Cocoa Life with a particular focus on the observational component. For example, they are able to report on whether a cocoa tree is pruned according to Cocoa Life’s teachings. In Western Africa, our teams are particularly experienced; for the past four years, they have evaluated the World Cocoa Foundation’s Cocoa Livelihoods program.
This type of data collection comes with multiple challenges. Some are environmental: The interviewers travel long distances to reach farmers. In Indonesia, when heavy rains make the roads impassable, our teams travel by boat. Other challenges are cultural or political, such as needing to get permission from village leaders or government officials to conduct surveys. To help data collection go smoothly, we work with the Cocoa Life leadership to understand the programs and reach the communities.
"We have worked closely with Ipsos, and it’s a good collaboration. The Cocoa Life team explains the programs conducted and their context. We then collaborate in designing questionnaires and asking the right questions. We also link them with the program’s implementers and ensure that their work can be delivered in a timely manner. This fieldwork is important, because it provides the tools to understand the progress of the program. It’s valuable for helping Cocoa Life improve and achieve our goals."
Ferdy Fabian, Monitoring and Evaluation Program Manager for Cocoa Life Indonesia
Our goal is not only to deliver quality data but also communicate it in a way that people can learn from. Mondelēz is the first cocoa company to commit to publish the findings in detail — a huge step for transparency in the industry. It’s a move that will help create an honest conversation about what impact these interventions have and how they can be improved.