Mondelez International has unveiled plans to achieve third-party verification for its US$400 million Cocoa Life programme. The new approach will measure the impact of Cocoa Life on farmers and their communities and progress towards its objective: creating thriving cocoa communities.
Mondelez International has partnered with Harvard University to set up an independent verification framework with three key elements. Each year, a Harvard research team will conduct an independent evaluation with a team of local university post-graduate students collecting data in Cocoa Life communities to measure the programme’s impact on its five core outcomes.
Every three years, a Harvard research team will conduct a holistic study of Cocoa Life to ensure it is on track to achieve its vision of empowering cocoa communities, including comparison with control communities outside the programme. On an ongoing basis, a third-party organization will verify the flow of cocoa from Cocoa Life communities to Mondelez International’s supply chain.
“Cocoa Life is answering the call for companies to make a scalable, positive impact on the lives of smallholder cocoa farmers,” said Christine McGrath, Vice President, External Affairs. “We’re helping build thriving communities by investing directly in them, helping farmers improve their practices and business skills, empowering women and young farmers. Third-party verification will help us measure and improve our impacts at origin.”
Later this year, Harvard University will release its first impact report on Cocoa Life communities in Ghana, where legacy programmes began in 2008. The impact report will build on new third-party assessments by Harvard University and CARE International released in April, which revealed striking gaps in income and opportunities for female cocoa farmers. The findings on the status of women in the cocoa supply chain formed the basis for Cocoa Life’s gender action plan.