Sustainable chocolate that feels as good as it tastes

Mondelēz International has started a sustainability programme in Indonesia which will encourage better and transparent sourcing, improve cocoa bean quality and raise farmer productivity

Sustainable chocolate in Indonesia
Mondelēz International is bringing their Cocoa Life sustainability programme into Indonesia, after starting in other cocoa countries like Ghana and India, to help farmers cultivate eco-friendly cocoa beans using farming techniques like optimum planting density and seedling nurseries. Image: Confectionery News

Mondelēz International launched on Thursday a new sustainability programme that will make chocolates not only delicious as always, but also more eco-conscious.

The Chicago-headquarted global snacks firm is launching its chocolate-centred corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme called Cocoa Life in Indonesia, the fifth country in their network to do so. Other locations supported by Cocoa Life include Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, The Dominican Republic and India.

The company, known for brands like Cadbury, Toblerone and Oreo, will partner with the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI) and international cocoa suppliers Armajaro and Olam to implement sustainable practices in cocoa farming in Indonesia.

Currently, the country is the third largest cocoa producer in the world, with 150,000 tonnes of bean export in 2012.  

Mondelēz and its partners will share their expertise in farming and processing, which will include techniques on optimum planting density and creating seedling nurseries, to increase both productivity and the income of farmers. They will also prioritise developing the rural communities to give farmers a better way of life, said the company. 

Together with the Indonesian government, suppliers and other NGO partners, we’re empowering cocoa-farming families to create the kind of communities they and their children want to live in…

Cathy Pieters, Cocoa Life director

Cathy Pieters, Cocoa Life director at Mondelēz International, said: “A sustainable cocoa supply begins with thriving cocoa communities, and more efficient farming leads to farmers’ financial security.”

Around 50,000 farmers stand to benefit with the Cocoa Life programme in Indonesia. Community meetings will be conducted so families can discuss their needs and priorities, as well as formulate community action plans that can lead to the expansion of farmer field schools, greater access to farming tools, new roads, better schools and such. 

According to Cocoa Life, they also want to make the community sustainable by helping the youth get better education, get early farming training and eventually become empowered farmers in the future.

Armajaro and Olam will be in charge of sourcing cocoa from these Indonesian Cocoa Life communities, said Mondelēz. The end goal is to have a long-term, high-quality supply of Indonesian cocoa that will strengthen the country’s position as a top producer of sustainable cocoa, they added. 

“Partnering is key to creating lasting change through our Cocoa Life programme. Together with the Indonesian government, suppliers and other NGO partners, we’re empowering cocoa-farming families to create the kind of communities they and their children want to live in, while promoting gender equality,” said Pieters.

The Cocoa Life programme is Mondelēz International’s ten-year commitment worth US$400 million, in which both farming and living conditions of about one million people in cocoa-dependent communities around the world are developed. Their CSR website shows testimonials and stories of positive impact, to maintain the company’s transparency and encourage consumers to track their progress.

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