As consumers, it is reassuring to know that your favourite chocolate does not only taste great, but is also made responsibly. This is a hallmark of Cocoa Life, Mondelez International’s global cocoa sustainability programme. Just as the Cadbury brothers did over 100 years ago, the programme works on the ground, hand-in-hand with the men and women who grow cocoa, Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate’s essential ingredient.
Just over 70% of the world’s cocoa is grown by West African farmers, with the Ivory Coast providing just over 40% and Ghana around 20%. Most of the farms responsible for the world’s cocoa supply are family-owned and less than two hectares in size. Farmers struggle with productivity and, as a result, many have seen their yields fall over the last few decades. This is due to a variety of factors, including farming being left to older members of the family as younger generations are drawn to the attractions of city life; farmers clinging to traditional farming methods, diseases which have ravaged cocoa plants and the far-reaching implications of climate change.
When the programme launched in 2012, Mondelez International committed $400 million to Cocoa Life over 10 years to help build a thriving cocoa supply chain - by increasing cocoa productivity and empowering local cocoa farming communities to improve their resilience.
Today, Cocoa Life grows opportunities for more than 142 000 cocoa farmers and 1 400 communities. The programme focuses on the areas it can make the most difference: turning cocoa into a business of choice, creating inclusive and empowered communities and conserving and restoring forests. Mondelez International supports the farmers to grow more cocoa from less land, while the communities they live in are empowered to steer their own development.
Village saving and loans associations provide the opportunity for farming families, especially women, to use the funds for a broad range of investments, including the purchase of fertilisers, start-up capital for new businesses to secure additional streams of income, expansion of existing businesses, starting new cocoa farms, rehabilitating old cocoa farms, and hiring labour.
“Cocoa is the essence of our chocolate and vital to our business, so we need to ensure it is ‘made right’,” says Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, Head of Cocoa Life in Ghana. “Making it right means tackling the complex challenges cocoa farmers face, including climate change, gender inequality, poverty and child labour. Choosing the Cocoa Life logo means everyone can love our chocolate as much as we do, because it’s made the right way.”