Mondelez launches new cocoa supply chain sustainability initiative

The world's largest chocolate company is taking a hands-on approach to supply chain management and transparency by employing a bespoke verification system in a bid to improve the social, trade and environmental standards of the cocoa industry.

Amid growing concerns about the sustainability of global cocoa supplies, Mondelez International has partnered with global certification body Flocert – the organisation which provides sole certification to Fairtrade – to develop a tailor-made reporting system which will specifically verify the quantity of sustainably-grown and traded cocoa that the company uses.

The Cadbury, Kenco and Oreo owner has penned a three-year deal with Flocert to incorporate ‘Flotis’ – a comprehensive monitoring tool that enables transparent transactions reporting and supplies statistical data for its evaluation, thus assuring and facilitating fair trading processes. It is the first chocolate manufacturer in the world to do so.

‘Healthy supply chain’

The agreement, which has an option to extend until 2022, will help Mondelez verify cocoa volumes and commercial transactions for the company’s $400m Cocoa Life program, which sees the company working with farmers, NGOs, suppliers and government institutions to develop new approaches to cocoa sourcing that can have a positive impact on the planet and its people.

“Our aim is to know farmers are benefiting from a healthy supply chain with clear terms of trade, better access to markets, and new ways for their voices to be heard,” said Cocoa Life’s programme director Cathy Pieters.

Flocert chief executive Rudiger Meyer added: “Mondelez International is a long-standing strategic partner of Fairtrade. We are pleased at the opportunity to further support this cooperation by supplying them with our verification services to help the Cocoa Life program measure progress towards achieving its goals.”

Critical components

Major cocoa processor Cargill, which is a cocoa and industrial chocolate supplier to Mondelez International, agrees on the importance of Cocoa Life’s verification framework, noting that this independent supply chain verification system will build farmers’ confidence in the program and encourage them to participate.

Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate’s manager for sustainable cocoa, Taco Terheijden, said: “Mondelez International is seeking to build closer relationships with cocoa communities by linking cocoa supply with its investment in Cocoa Life.

“As defined in the Cargill approach, we rate partnerships and transparency as critical components for a sustainable supply chain. This verification will strengthen our relationship by ensuring benefits flow to farmers.”

Mondelez International recently unveiled a similar appraoch to supply chain standards in the coffee industry, with the development of a more stringent and transparent supply chain evaluation framework to measure the impact of its global sustainability programme. 

The group’s Cocoa Life programme, which was launched in 2012, form’s part of the group’s goal to source 100% of its cocoa from sustainable sources, but a deadline has not yet been set for this target. In its latest sustainability report, Mondelez said 10% of the cocoa it uses was sustainably-sourced.

Luke Nicholls

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