Focus: Mondelez launches Sustainable Futures environmental impact investment platform
Mondelēz International has confirmed the launch of its Sustainable Futures initiative, an impact investing platform to incubate, finance and support self-sustaining ventures that address key challenges in the world, including climate change, as the business explains to Confectionery Production.
With sustainability remaining a fundamental concern to the US-based snacks and confectionery business, the firm explains its latest venture is part of an ongoing effort to create a positive impact on people and planet.
As the business, which owns brands including Cadbury and Oreo, revealed, its new platform gives it an opportunity to pursue and nurture innovative projects, with like-minded investors, that align with the firm’s sustainability strategy and help deliver on its wide-ranging commitments.
“We don’t have all the answers, but we do know that alone, we can never achieve significant progress in the fight against systemic issues like climate change,” said Dirk Van de Put, Chief Executive and Chairman of Mondelēz International. “Sustainable Futures is our first foray into impact investing and gives us the opportunity to work with others in supporting environmental and social projects that can help drive meaningful, long-term change.”
Sustainable Futures seeks to co-invest in projects addressing climate change, as well as making seed investments into social ventures that aim to improve livelihoods and build healthy communities. Through the platform, Mondelēz International intends to invest in projects that protect forests, reduce carbon emissions or increase resilience in landscapes from which it sources raw materials.
The first social ventures will initially include support for an NGO in India that will set up a sustainable, women-owned social enterprise to up-cycle multi-layered plastic packaging into board for multiple uses, and a venture with INMED Aquaponics Social Enterprise (ASE) in South Africa, supporting agro-entrepreneurs in climate-smart food production.
“It’s only by testing and learning new approaches, and by seeking new forms of partnership with NGOs, governments, and social entrepreneurs, that we can unleash the creativity we need to tackle some of the world’s most challenging issues,” said Christine Montenegro McGrath, VP and Chief of Global Impact and Sustainability at Mondelēz International. “By offering seed investment and expertise through Sustainable Futures, Mondelēz International can help to create lasting solutions in areas like forest protection, carbon emissions reduction, and innovation in recycling.”
As the company added, its responsibility as a major corporation is to offer support to others in times of greatest need. For many years, the MDLZ Foundation, alongside focusing on promoting nutrition, also supported communities by working with a disaster relief fund managed by the ICRC (Red Cross). We will continue to engage with the ICRC and other NGOs via grants and matching funds to employees’ gifts. Together these means will help with immediate disaster relief in any part of the world, supporting communities and people to withstand and overcome the most severe disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding and disease.
The company’s latest strategy is set to involve its foundation – as it noted, its responsibility as a major corporation is to offer support to others in times of greatest need. For many years our MDLZ Foundation, alongside its work to promote nutrition, also supported communities by working with a disaster relief fund managed by the ICRC (Red Cross). It will continue to engage with the ICRC and other NGOs via grants and matching funds to employees’ gifts. Together these means will help with immediate disaster relief in any part of the world, supporting communities and people to withstand and overcome the most severe disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding and disease.
To date, the foundation has transformed the lives of over 1.5 million children in 18 countries. Between 2016 and 2018, the company has seen the following results in the communities, it works with: An 18% increase in children knowing what good nutrition is, as well as a 7% increase in children being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day. There has also been a 12% increase in children eating more fruits, vegetables and other fresh foods.
As the company noted, the firm’s largest impact on the world lies in its carbon footprint in the regions where it sources its raw ingredients, like Cocoa or Palm Oil. With Sustainable Futures, the company will venture into impact investing where it will incubate, finance and support co-funded, self-sustaining ventures with like-minded investors. This includes, for instance, future investment in projects that address climate change in the landscapes from which we source raw materials.
Instead of providing simple grants, the business added that it can partner with social entrepreneurs to provide support in the form of seed funding or growth capital to help them incubate, nurture and scale their ideas for a more sustainable and equitable future. From recycling, through agricultural diversification, to projects that support marginalised communities, our financial support can generate environmental and social impact all over the world. Current funding includes seed investment into an NGO that will set up a sustainable social enterprise to upcycle multi-layered plastic packaging into board for multiple uses in India, and INMED Aquaponics Social Enterprise (ASE), a venture supporting agro-entrepreneurs in climate-smart food production.