Mondelez’s female empowerment programme, first rolled out in Ghana and the Ivory Coast in 2014, will now be expanded to Indonesia and the Dominican Republic.

It aims to empower women from more than 1,000 communities across areas such as farming, youth, community, livelihoods and the environment.

“As a company, we’re committed to offering snacks that are made the right way and that includes transforming our cocoa supply chain to grow opportunities for farmers and communities,” said Cathy Pieters, Mondelez’s Cocoa Life director.

“We believe women’s empowerment plays a crucial role in creating sustainable cocoa communities. Based on our experience, in communities where women’s voices are heard and treated equally, we see rising incomes, better management of family finances and increased school attendance. This translates to greater economic success and more sustainable cocoa farming. Women’s empowerment grows opportunities for all.”

Cocoa Life

The project forms part of the Mondelez Cocoa Life sourcing programme, which reaches more than 200,000 farmers across six countries and aims to benefit more than a million people by 2022.

Cocoa Life has helped women in cocoa origin countries gain greater access and control over both household productive resources. The programme provides 50,000 women annually with access to finance to fund education and encourage entrepreneurship, while more than 59,000 community members have are also trained in gender awareness.

Since the launch of the programme in 2012, Mondelez has pumped more than $400m to accelerate the reach of the sourcing initiative, with an ultimate aim in place for it to cover the entirety of the company’s cocoa suppliers.

Earlier this year, Mondelez called on the cocoa industry to “be brave” when exploring new ways to enhance supply chain practices that ensure cocoa is sourced sustainably while bringing smallholder farmers out of poverty.

Research suggests that cocoa growers globally earn around 6.6% of value of a tonne of cocoa sold, with growers in the Southern Hemisphere earning as little as 90p a day.

George Ogleby

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