Mondelēz unveils enhanced diversity and inclusivity strategy, amid key sustainability progress

pic by Mike Mitchell

The Mondelēz International confectionery and snacks group has confirmed a key drive aimed at enhancing its existing diversity and inclusion initiatives focusing on racial equity economic empowerment measures.

As the business, which owns Cadbury and is behind other notable brands including Toblerone, Oreo, Milka and Ritz, revealed, its plans follow extensive consultation with company leaders, colleagues and experts through listening forums and educational sessions focused on diversity, inclusion and belonging, aimed at increasing black representation within the firm at management level.

It comes amid a separate significant development for the company, which has announced that further to examining its own internal policies, it has also reported key progress with environmentally-friendly sourcing of its core palm oil supplies, which are widely used across its global range of snacks and confectionery product ranges.

These new requirements include traceability to plantation and satellite monitoring covering all palm oil concessions supplying mills attributed to the company, against the deforestation criteria set out in its Palm Oil Action Plan.

All mills must be identified on Global Forest Watch, with no active grievances against concessions in their direct supply, or operated by the same producer groups elsewhere. In addition, suppliers must have third-party assurance of their monitoring process and systems used and be subject to cross-check by Mondelēz International. From Q1 2021, the company expects 80% of its palm oil to meet these enhanced expectations with strong supplier partnership, working to increase coverage as quickly as possible.

The enhanced sourcing requirements will improve transparency across the sector by requiring suppliers to confirm sustainable sourcing practices across their entire supply chain by 2025, not just the portion supplied to Mondelēz International. They form part of Mondelēz International long-term ambition to eliminate deforestation and forced labor in the palm oil supply chain and support the aims of the Consumer Goods Forum #Forestpositive Coalition.

Building a more diverse business

Speaking on the company’s move to enhance diversity within the company, Dirk Van de Put, Chairman and CEO of Mondelēz International, believed the delivery of the initiative would be vital to the company’s future.

He said: “Mondelēz International is committed to building a more diverse, inclusive and equitable world, both socially and economically,” said . “As a global company, we know that diversity in all its forms is a driver of innovation and growth and we must reflect the diversity of our consumers to deliver stronger business performance as we lead the future of snacking.”

Over the next three years, the company will address local and global opportunities to advance racial equity and economic empowerment by expanding its D&I initiative across three key areas: Colleagues, Culture and Communities.

To ensure the diversity of its colleagues at all levels represent the communities, customers and consumers Mondelēz International serves, the company has committed to double Black representation in U.S. management by 2024. To enable this goal, it has implemented a series of actions across its business, including increasing the presence of underrepresented candidates on interview slates, doubling investment in early career programs, including with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and establishing new mentoring and leadership development programs for people of colour.

These initiatives will complement the company’s efforts to continue to maintain appropriate pay equity for Black colleagues. In addition, the company will increase the strategic impact of diversity and inclusion within the organisation by appointing a Global D&I Officer who will be accountable to the CHRO, CEO and Board of Directors for advancing this important agenda.

To further strengthen the company’s culture and continue to cultivate an inclusive, bias-free and equitable workplace that enables all colleagues to be themselves and achieve their full potential, Mondelēz International will invest in building cultural competences for all employees and will include D&I performance metrics in business unit and functional goals.

The company also plans to mobilise its consumer-facing brands and leverage its partnerships with agencies and advertising platforms to drive change, equity and inclusion. To foster reflection and service in its U.S. Business Unit, the company will honour Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid U.S. Holiday and recognise Juneteenth with a U.S. day of service.

Communities

Furthermore, to drive economic inclusion for underrepresented communities, the company will commit to spend $1 billion with minority and women-owned businesses globally by 2024. Across every business unit, the company will foster partnerships to support underrepresented communities. In the U.S. this will include a new multi-year signature partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to help close the opportunity gap for youth. Mondelēz International will also establish a signature multi-year college scholarship program for underrepresented youth in the U.S.

“In a world that can seem more divided than ever, our business and our brands have the power to bring people together and take a stand on this important issue,” said Glen Walter, EVP & President, North America. “We are confident that we can make a true and meaningful impact over the short and long term, and we will continue to evolve and refine our plans to ensure we are driving, positive, lasting and much-needed change on the issues of racial equity and inclusion.”

Today’s announcement builds on the company’s ongoing D&I efforts, including successfully closing its senior-level gap of women in leadership and building the right inclusive leadership behaviours to create a winning growth culture that values differences. The company will report its annual progress against these goals in their Snacking Made Right Report, alongside other Purpose-focused activities and KPIs.

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