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Mondelez International Strengthens Efforts to Address Child Labor in Cocoa Production

Cocoa Life will work with partners to reinforce community child protection structures following publication of independent assessments

DEERFIELD, Ill., May 23, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Embode, a human rights consultancy, published the results of two independent assessments of child protection in the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Mondelēz International (Nasdaq:MDLZ) commissioned these assessments as part of the company’s continuing efforts to empower cocoa-farming communities through its Cocoa Life program. Embode assessed conditions in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana in 2015 and analyzed the environment and national child protection infrastructure.

The reports commend Cocoa Life’s holistic approach and direct work with cocoa communities in its supply chain. Embode recognizes Cocoa Life’s potential to drive meaningful change at scale by tackling the root causes of child labor, and recommends that Mondelēz International build on its existing approach to strengthen cocoa communities’ capacity to foster the well-being of children.

“We value Embode’s insights and plan to implement the recommendations for our Cocoa Life program,” said Cathy Pieters, Director of Cocoa Life. “We’ll consult with our program partners and government authorities to strengthen existing child protection structures, improve access to education and continue to address root causes like poverty in Cocoa Life communities in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.”

Aidan McQuade, Director of Anti-Slavery International, said: “Embode’s reports are a significant step forward for transparency and offer new thinking on ways to address the root causes of child labor in cocoa farming. Further engaging with other businesses through existing non-competitive platforms within the cocoa sector to address these issues will be crucial to help deliver wider impact.”

For both countries, Embode’s recommendations to Cocoa Life include:

  • Developing and implementing a child protection policy and code, which would explicitly require the reporting and referral of child protection cases, including child labor and child slavery
  • Taking more initiatives aimed at improving children’s access to education
  • Reviewing targets and indicators to measure progress on children’s well-being
  • Working alongside communities with a “system-strengthening” approach to ensure sustainability of outcomes over the long term
  • Working in closer partnership with local and national authorities to align and contribute to governments’ strategies for cocoa sustainability and child well-being
  • Engaging proactively with the cocoa sector to share Cocoa Life’s distinct approach to cocoa sustainability

For the reports and the executive summaries, please visit:

About Cocoa Life and the approach to child labor in cocoa
Mondelēz International has been working with its industry and supply chain partners to find solutions to the issue of child labor in the cocoa sector for many years. In addition to its contribution to industry efforts as founding member of CocoaAction and the International Cocoa Initiative, the company stepped up its efforts against child labor in 2012 with the Cocoa Life program, a $400 million investment to empower 200,000 farmers and reach over 1 million people in cocoa-growing communities. Ultimately, the company aims to source all of its cocoa sustainably, mainly via Cocoa Life.

With a holistic approach centered on cocoa communities, Cocoa Life helps to address child labor and its root causes. NGO partners, such as CARE International, VSO and Solidaridad, raise awareness of child labor in Cocoa Life communities by training both children and parents. Cocoa Life helps to address the root causes of child labor with actions to improve the livelihoods of farmers, empower women and promote education.

About Embode
Embode is an independent international consulting agency specializing in business and human rights, child protection and organizational analysis. Visit

About Mondelēz International
Mondelēz International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDLZ) is a global snacking powerhouse, with 2015 net revenues of approximately $30 billion. Creating delicious moments of joy in 165 countries, Mondelēz International is a world leader in biscuits, chocolate, gum, candy and powdered beverages, with billion-dollar brands such as Oreo, LU and Nabisco biscuits; Cadbury, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Milka chocolate; and Trident gum. Mondelēz International is a proud member of the Standard and Poor’s 500, NASDAQ 100 and Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Visit or follow us on Twitter at

Valerie Moens

Gemma Pryor
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