Mondelēz International releases latest Snacking Made Right report charting sustainability progress
pic by Mike Mitchell
Mondelēz International has released its 2021 Snacking Made Right report, revealing its ongoing work targeting its environment, social and governance goals within key supply chains, including cocoa and palm oil, reports Neill Barston.
As the company noted, its latest study charted progress on developing its overall sustainability as a business, noting that it remains focused on means of delivering positive impacts across its business activities, including supporting vital agricultural communities serving sectors including the chocolate industry, as well as reducing packaging waste.
Among its core goals for the tenth anniversary year of its Cocoa Life scheme was its figure of reaching 209,954 registered farmers, which exceeded its 2022 goal of 200,000, as well as recording 75% of cocoa volume for chocolate brands sourced through the global scheme, up 7% since 2020. The $400 million venture has supported farmers in six locations including Ghana, Ivory Coast, India, Indonesia, Dominican Republic and Brazil, through encouraging additional income generating activities, and paying the Living Income Differential of $400 a tonne of cocoa direct to farming communities.
Additionally, to the scheme, the company carried out studies in West Africa, which supplies nearly two thirds of cocoa for the confectionery and snacks trade, that revealed a concerning $10 billion income gap which remained a major challenge in terms of the scale of combined actions still required from industry, civil society and governments to help farmers to ensure their largely smallholder operations survive.
However, while its latest Snacking Made Right report noted progress against its targets, concerns regarding the Cocoa Life scheme emerged recently with the UK TV documentary by Channel 4, which raised ongoing child labour issues in Ghana. In interviews it conducted for the programme aired last month, farmers were reportedly earning around £500 a year, well below UN-defined poverty levels.
As the documentary revealed, a major issue remains that farmers only receive around 11% of the value of cocoa, with large percentages going to retailers, distributors, as well as profits returned to cocoa and chocolate companies. As industry studies have found, a total of over 1.5 million minors across Ghana and Ivory Coast are at risk of being exposed to hazardous labour.
In response to the concerns raised in the recent documentary, the business stressed that it did not tolerate child labour in its supply chains and would investigate the claims made in the programme through its monitoring and remediation initiatives, as well as alerting Ghana’s authorities of its findings.
The company said that is presently engaged with 81,000 farmers in Ghana, and it would be working with communities to further educate communities on children’s rights, as well as helping encourage school attendance in the region as a key means of driving change within the region.
Snacking report findings
As the company added, its latest Snacking Made Right Report demonstrates measurable progress against key areas of focus including more sustainable ingredient sourcing; improved packaging by making our packaging designed for recyclability and removing challenging materials; increased actions to help address climate change; initiatives to advance DE&I; and support for consumer and community well-being.
“A sustainability mindset has long been integrated into our business growth strategy as we continue to create value, make our business more resilient and accelerate our ambition of building a more sustainable snacking company,” said Dirk Van de Put, Chairman and CEO of Mondelēz International. “I am proud of the strong progress our company has made against our ambitious ESG goals, which are integral to the long-term success of our business and help us address some of the key issues facing the world at large.”
The report revealed further gains in terms of sustainable ingredients included 91% wheat volume needed for Europe business unit biscuits production grown under Harmony charter (+15 percentage points since 2020), 100% palm oil volume RSPO certified (since 2014) with 99% traceable to mill and 87% forest monitored.
Regarding climate and the environment, there had been a 21% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions (baseline 2018), a 32% total electricity used in owned operations from renewable energy (+9 percentage points since 2020), and 100% use of electricity from renewable sources in Brazil, Peru and UK manufacturing facilities.
For its packaging, 95% is now designed to be recyclable (+1 percentage point since 2020), and it is on track to use 5% recycled plastic content by 2025 with 0.5% used in 2021 (baseline 2020). Connected to this, 72,100 metric tonnes of packaging materials have been eliminated since 2013.
On employee and community wellbeing, its report found that 39% Women in executive leadership; exceeding goal to double by 2024 (baseline 2018), as well as 5% Black Management representation (U.S.); a 60 percent increase year-over-year. Within its cocoa sourcing, 61% of its operations are covered by Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) in Cocoa Life communities in West Africa (+33 percentage points since 2020).
In terms of snacking responsibly, the company said 18% of its packs feature Snack Mindfully portion icons (+4 percentage points since 2020), with a total of 17% snacks net revenue from portion control snacks (+1 percentage point since 2020).
“This year’s report documents important milestones marking 10 years on our sustainability journey, in which we’ve achieved scale in our signature ingredient sourcing programs Cocoa Life and Harmony Wheat. With Cocoa Life, we have built the largest cocoa sustainability program and have achieved the goal we set in 2012, investing more than $400 million USD in the program to support farmer livelihoods, reaching almost 210,000 cocoa farmers and, more importantly, seeing positive impact at scale,” said Christine Montenegro McGrath, Senior Vice President and Chief Global Impact and Sustainability Officer at Mondelēz International.
“The issues we are tackling are systemic, requiring supply chain and business transformation. That’s why our integrated approach is not only designed to tackle root causes, but also embedded into our business growth strategy. We are committed to measuring our impact and investing in scalable solutions and innovation so we can drive lasting change.”
As the company added, it remains committed to other long term goals including net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, through investing in Circulate Capital Ocean Fund to support the collection of more plastic waste than the company currently produces in India and South East Asia. It also recently issued its first green bonds in September 2021, as it continues to make further investment in its environmental performance.