Mondelez to use 100% sustainably-sourced wheat in EU

Confectionary giant Mondelēz International has committed to making 100% of the biscuits it manufactures in the European Union with sustainably-sourced wheat, a 40% increase from the company's biscuit production last year.

To meet this ambition, the firm, which produces Oreos, Cadbury Biscuits and Ritz crackers, is expanding its sustainable wheat sourcing initiative, called the “Harmony programme”. The scheme incentivises farmers to follow sustainable practices in the cultivation and processing of wheat in return for a premium on their crop.

Last year, the programme produced 177,000 tonnes of wheat – but for the expansion, this figure will increase to more than 280,000 tonnes by 2022.

“European consumers increasingly equate high-quality products with sustainable production. They’re aware of the impact of their food choices on the environment and have high expectations of manufacturers to take their share of responsibility,” Mondelēz International’s Europe president, Hubert Weber.

“As Europe’s largest biscuit baker, we can play a role in tackling challenges like climate change and resource shortages by promoting sustainable farming practices and improving biodiversity in our supply chain. In doing so, we contribute to creating a fairer, more transparent and integrated supply chain, in which good quality for consumers means a good impact on farmers and society”.

First launched 10 years ago in France, the Harmony scheme provides farmers with a financial incentive to conserve water, protect biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions.

The rules of the scheme require them to reduce their fertiliser use, driving their CO2 emissions down, while minimising pesticide and fertiliser use.

Participants additionally pledge to preserve water quality on their land, to dedicate 3% of their fields to border hedges or flowers to promote biodiversity, and to rotate their crops properly. At present, the involves 1,700 farmers, 13 millers and 21 co-operatives across six markets – namely Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland and Spain.

Mondelez also heads the Cocoa Life sourcing programme, which aims to enhance supply chain practices that ensure cocoa is sourced sustainably while bringing smallholder farmers out of poverty. The scheme, which has now reached 120,500 farmers across 1,085 communities, covers more than a third of the cocoa the company sources. 

Sarah George

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