Mondelēz International recently released its annual Human Rights Due Diligence and Modern Slavery report for 2021, demonstrating progress against its 2025 ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) goals. The report confirms progress made toward the company’s goals to prevent, identify, and address potential human rights and modern slavery risks in its own operations and supply chains.
Through Cocoa Life, Mondelēz partners with almost 210,000 farmers in over 2,500 communities and has invested over USD 400M to support farmers’ livelihoods.
Preventing and addressing child labour across the West African cocoa sector requires cross-sector collaboration. In 2021, the umbrella International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), composed of Mondelēz International and peer companies, suppliers and NGOs, reached 590,000 households across Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana with systems that help prevent and address child labour.
Mondelēz International is also investing CHF 3 million (~$3 million USD) towards improving children’s access to quality education in cocoa-growing regions. Lack of access to schooling is a key root cause of child labour, which can only be addressed systemically. Mondelēz International is investing in two initiatives focused on improving access to education: The Child Learning and Education Facility, as well as the Early Learning and Nutrition initiative. The goal of these investments is to improve access to and quality of education for 5 million children through the construction of 2,500 classrooms and proven interventions to improve teaching quality.
Along with its progress in supporting human rights across the cocoa supply chain, the 2021 report demonstrates Mondelēz International’s progress in promoting human rights due diligence practices in the sourcing of additional commodities such as palm oil and hazelnuts. To support the mainstreaming of due diligence practices in the palm oil sector, Mondelēz International has joined forces with peers in the CGF Human Rights Coalition, the Fair Labor Association, and the International Organization for Migration to deploy and test systems at each stage of the supply chain. Additionally, in 2021, Mondelēz International joined CAOBISCO’s partnership with the International Labor Organization to help combat child labour in seasonal harvesting of hazelnuts in Turkey. After this group held awareness-raising sessions with seasonal workers and their families, orchard owners and labour intermediaries, it reported that 1,456 children were removed or prevented from engaging in harvesting activities across the Black Sea region.
Recognizing the systemic nature of human rights issues in global supply chains and the need for all actors along the supply chain to work together to address them, Mondelēz International continues to advocate in favour of mandatory human rights due diligence legislation. The company supports legislative efforts aimed at enabling practical, proactive, ongoing human rights due diligence, and generally welcomes the EU Commission’s proposed Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence directive (issued in February 2022), which will require companies to identify and address human rights and environmental risks in their value chain.
“It’s very significant that Mondelēz International was prepared to stick their head above the parapet and say: ‘actually, we need human rights due diligence to become mandatory, so that we can level the playing field and all businesses start upholding human rights standards in their supply chain,’” said Dr. Aidan McQuade, human rights expert and author of Ethical Leadership: Moral Decision-Making Under Pressure.
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