Mondelēz International has released its annual Human Rights Due Diligence and Modern Slavery Report for 2021, highlighting progress on key environmental, social and governance goals for 2025, writes Neill Barston.
As the company noted, its latest studies track gains against its core goals of preventing and identifying risk within its own operations and supply chains.
Through its 10-year-old Cocoa Life cocoa sourcing program, Mondelēz International partners with nearly 210,000 farmers in more than 2,500 communities and has invested more than $400 million to support the livelihoods of farmers. By 2021, the company would have more than doubled its progress towards its goal of establishing child labor monitoring and remediation systems (CLMRS) in all of its Cocoa Life communities in West Africa by 2025. program expanded its coverage to 1,548 communities, reaching 61% coverage in West Africa. West Africa.
As the company has recognized, preventing and addressing child labor in key markets serving the chocolate trade, including Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, requires cross-industry collaboration. In 2021, the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) – made up of Mondelēz International and peer companies, suppliers and NGOs – reached 590,000 households in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana with systems that help prevent and to combat child labour.
Significantly, the company is also investing CHF 3 million (~US$3 million) to improve children’s access to quality education in cocoa growing regions. Lack of access to school is a root cause of child labour, which can only be addressed systemically.
While its studies reveal notable progress in terms of the volumes of farmers reached by its programmes, a recent UK documentary revealed that the company, like the sector as a whole, continues to face significant challenges in tackling child labor.
Among its current areas of focus, the company is investing in two initiatives focused on improving access to education: the Children’s Learning and Education Facility (CLEF) – which brings together the Government of the Coast d’Ivoire, peer companies and foundations – as well as the Early Learning and Nutrition (ELAN) initiative, led by the Jacobs Foundation.
The objective of these investments is to improve access and quality of education for 5 million children, reaching 90% of rural primary schools in Côte d’Ivoire, through the construction of 2,500 classrooms. and proven interventions to improve the quality of teaching.
Support human rights in sourcing additional products
Alongside its progress in supporting human rights throughout the cocoa supply chain, the 2021 report demonstrates Mondelēz International’s progress in promoting human rights due diligence practices. in the supply of additional products such as palm oil and hazelnuts.
To support the integration of strong due diligence practices in the palm oil sector, Mondelēz International has partnered with peers from the CGF Human Rights Coalition, the Fair Labor Association and the International Organization for migrations to deploy and test systems every step of the way. supply chain.
Additionally, in 2021, Mondelēz International joined Caobisco’s partnership with the International Labor Organization to help tackle child labor in seasonal hazelnut harvesting in Turkey. After this group held awareness sessions with seasonal workers and their families, orchard owners and labor intermediaries, it reported that 1,456 children had been removed or prevented from engaging in harvesting activities in the Black Sea region.
Support a Living Wage
In 2021, Mondelēz International joined IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative) Living Wage Roadmap to help advance living wages in global supply chains and confirmed its continued commitment to paying its employees a living wage. This builds on the company’s longstanding focus on promoting human rights with the introduction of a dedicated human rights policy aligned with the Guiding Human Rights Principles United Nations.
“Through our flagship Cocoa Life Ingredient Sourcing Program, we are learning from our decade-long experience on the ground in cocoa communities about the importance of living income,” said Laura Stein, Executive Vice President of Cocoa Life. Legal and Corporate Affairs and General Counsel, Mondelēz International. .
“Building on our continued focus on promoting human rights, we have joined the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) Living Wage Roadmap to help advance the wage and living income in global supply chains. We will also work with our suppliers with the aim of ensuring that all of our strategic suppliers commit to a living wage roadmap by 2030.”
Mondelēz International is also working with its peers on the AIM Progress Living Wage Task Force to support the company’s goal of having all strategic suppliers committed to a living wage roadmap by 2030. , as part of its continued membership in the Human Rights Coalition of Action within the Consumer Goods Forum, the company joined the Human Rights Due Diligence Project in 2021. This project is key to supporting Mondelēz International’s goals to strengthen its human rights due diligence systems and to prevent risks, including forced labor, in its own operations and sourcing. chain.
Recognizing the systemic nature of human rights issues in global supply chains and the need for all supply chain actors to work together to address them, Mondelēz International continues to advocate for legislation mandatory on human rights due diligence.
The company supports legislative efforts to enable practical, proactive and ongoing human rights due diligence, and generally welcomes the European Commission’s proposed directive on corporate sustainability due diligence ( published in February 2022), which will require companies to identify and address human rights and environmental risks. in their value chain.
“It is very significant that Mondelēz International was prepared to stick its head out of the parapet and say, ‘In fact, we need human rights due diligence to become mandatory, so that we can level the playing field. game and that all companies start respecting human rights standards in their business”. supply chain,” said Dr. Aidan McQuade, human rights expert and author of Ethical Leadership: Moral Decision-Making Under Pressure.
The Human Rights Due Diligence and Modern Slavery report is part of Mondelēz International’s ongoing assessment and review of best practices to improve its approach to human rights compliance. To identify human rights risks, the company is committed to undertaking practical and proactive due diligence in its own operations and seeks to work with suppliers who share the same level of commitment.
The company takes steps to mitigate identified risks, prioritizes areas of concern through sustainable sourcing programs, and advocates for systemic solutions through public-private collaboration.