LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Cadbury chocolate-maker Mondelez International (MDLZ.O) doubled down on sustainable cocoa sourcing on Wednesday, pledging to spend an additional $600 million by 2030 on efforts to combat child labour, farmer poverty and deforestation in cocoa.
The move will bring its total spend on cocoa sustainability since 2012 to $1 billion and comes as multinationals face increased reputational and legal pressures to clean up their global supply chains.
This comes after voluntary efforts by food giants like Mondelez to source cocoa and other ingredients sustainably through certification schemes had limited impact in practice.
Mondelez said its ‘Cocoa Life’ scheme is now one of the four pillars of its long-term growth strategy, adding it hopes its new investment will help catalyze sector-wide collaboration to address environmental and human rights challenges in cocoa.
“Cocoa farmers and their communities are still facing big challenges,” said Christine Montenegro McGrath, senior vice president and chief impact and sustainability officer at Mondelēz.
“We are doubling down on (our) approach because we know only a sector-wide long-term strategy supported by all industry players, producing and consuming governments, and civil society will lead to lasting impact.”
Sustainability schemes use auditors like Fairtrade and others to certify ingredients as ethically sourced. However, more than a decade after they were introduced, rates of forest destruction, poverty and child labour in cocoa remain high.
The schemes have been much criticised for not committing to paying farmers a living income.
Oreo cookie maker Mondelez said Cocoa Life will “aim to increase the number of farming households reaching a living income, enhance child protection systems and seek no deforestation on Cocoa Life farms globally’.