Mondelēz International is expanding its global cocoa sustainability initiative, Cocoa Life, in Brazil.
Cocoa Life aims to create empowered and thriving cocoa farming communities, by helping farmers to become more profitable and sustainable while safeguarding the future of chocolate.
Around the world, the initiative is already making progress in five key cocoa origin countries – Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, India and Dominican Republic.
Mondelēz International has been supporting cocoa production in Brazil since 2014 and will build on this work, and on the learnings from other origins, to fully deploy the Cocoa Life program.
In Pará, the company will invest about $200,000 per year over the next three years to empower cocoa farmers and to nurture thriving and independent cocoa communities.
In Bahia, where farmers face a myriad of challenges related to crop management, Cocoa Life will provide guidance on the latest techniques in farm rejuvenation and good agricultural practices to improve yields and the quality of the cocoa produced as well as to mitigate environmental impact.
The cocoa beans produced with Cocoa Life support will be part of Mondelēz International supply chain network for its Lacta-chocolate portfolio.
Mondelēz chief of sustainability and well-being Christine Montenegro McGrath said the company is thrilled about adding Brazil to its Cocoa Life initiative.
“Brazil is not only a cocoa-growing country, but it’s also an important chocolate manufacturing hub – home to one of our local heritage brands, Lacta.
“Cocoa Life has already made a significant impact in West African cocoa farming communities and we expect it will do the same in Brazil. In addition, the program will also look at contributing to the preservation of the Amazon rainforest and to the community development,” said Montenegro McGrath.
The Cocoa Life launch in Brazil is the result of a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and its Forest Cocoa project, which was created to foster low-carbon family-based farming, generate social and economic benefits and engage farmers to commit to zero deforestation targets and an agroforestry-based restoration of degraded areas.
TNC Brazil vice coordinator of restoration, Rodrigo Freire, said the partnership with Cocoa Life brings a new perspective to expand efforts.
“Indeed, the Pará region, which had one of the highest rates of deforestation in Brazil, has the potential to become an example of sustainable development and restoration in the Amazon Rainforest,” said Freire.
“Over the past five years, we have supported the planting of 450 hectares of cocoa agroforestry-system in the Amazon, benefitting over 120 families in the São Félix do Xingu and Tucumã municipalities in southeastern Pará.
“Our goal is to reach 1,000 families in the next five years,” said Freire.
In partnership with Forest Cocoa, Mondelēz International has set clear targets for the next three years such as:
- Impacting at least 500 farmers,
- Deploy six demonstration plots to share good agricultural practices, promote ecological soil management and good post-harvest practices,
- Transforming 1,000 hectares of pasture land into cocoa agroforestry,
- Re-shape 750 hectares of existing cocoa farms with new agro-ecological soil management
- Restore 500 hectares of riparian forest and protect watersheds.