The largest chocolate maker in the world, Mondelez International, has announced it will take steps to address the inequality facing women cocoa farmers and workers.
The announcement follows pressure from consumers as part of the international aid agency Oxfam’s Behind the Brandscampaign and comes on top of recent commitments by Mars and Nestlé to address a range of social issues. together, Mondelez International – Cadbury’s parent company – Mars and Nestlé control 40 per cent of the global chocolate market.
More than 100,000 people around the world signed Oxfam’s petition and took action to urge Mondelez International and its competitors to tackle the hunger, poverty and unequal pay women cocoa farmers experience.
Oxfam australia chief executive dr helen Szoke said the companies also faced a growing stream of calls on social media, urging them to take action.
“Tackling the hunger and inequality faced by women coca farmers has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people, some of whom are earning less than $2 a day,” dr Szoke said.
“We applaud Mondelez International’s decision to make these commitments. the company’s existing program, Cocoa Life, which aims to improve the livelihoods of coca farmers, has built a good platform for gender-sensitive sustainability initiatives and these new commitments will expand that effort and ensure women benefit in the same way as men.
“Oxfam will continue to monitor all three companies as they turn their pledges into specific and measurable actions.”
Specifically, Mendelez International has agreed to conduct and publish third-party impact assessments of women in its cocoa supply chains to understand and show how women are faring. the company will begin by publishing impact assessments in Ghana and the Ivory Coast in 2014.
the company is also implementing an action plan by april 2014, which will address issues raised by the assessments and improve the working conditions in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
“this latest commitment shows no company is too big to listen to its customers. three of the biggest food giants in the world are changing how they operate because consumers have demanded it,” dr Szoke said.
“We hope the steps taken by Mars, Mondelez International and Nestlé offer an example to the rest of the food and beverage industry that consumers are paying attention to how companies affect the communities in which they work.”