Mondelēz on pace toward wellness, sustainability goals

by Max Sosland
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DEERFIELD, ILL. — In its first ever Care for Well-being progress report, Mondelēz International said the company is on track to meet almost all of its goals, most notably in the areas of mindful snacking and sustainability.

Empowering consumers to snack mindfully represents a principal objective of the company, which estimated it is solidly on track toward a target of 25% of revenue from Better Choices products by 2020 after 22% of revenue in 2013 came from these products.

Mondelēz also is on target to increase individually wrapped portion control options 25% by 2020. Since its 2012 baseline year, Mindful Portion products grew by 7%. The growth has been accomplished by expanding the Better Choice options in the company’s portfolio with stricter nutrition criteria. To qualify, the products must contain a healthful nutritional element (e.g., increase in whole grains) or a healthful reduction (e.g., sodium), as well as meet standards based on globally recognized nutrition science. The company’s approach toward achieving the goal includes broadening its offerings of individually wrapped snacks at 200 calories or less.

Additionally, the company said it is on pace to meet its goal to increase the amount of whole grains in its products 25% by 2020. In the United States, the Mondelēz product portfolio currently accounts for an estimated 5.5 billion servings of whole grain a year.

Mondelēz said its sustainability efforts are focused on securing sustainable agricultural supplies. Goals were set in order to reach this higher standard. Mondelēz is one of the largest cocoa buyers in the world and it is working to make all its cocoa sustainably sourced. The company hopes to achieve this objective in large part due to the Cocoa Life program. In 2012, the program was expanded with a $400 million, 10-year commitment to provide cocoa farmers training in better agricultural and business practices, and gain better access to cocoa planting materials. The program was introduced to many communities, including Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, India, Dominican Republic, Bazil and Indonesia.

“At the heart of Cocoa Life is our belief in improving the lives of cocoa farmers,” said Bharat Puri, president of global chocolate, gum and candy at Mondelēz.

“We’re investing in much more than farming — it’s about empowering cocoa communities as a whole so cocoa farming villages become places where people want to live,” Mr. Puri said.

Third-party verification for Cocoa Life also was established to measure its impact on farmers and their communities.

As of 2013, 56% of Mondelēz coffee was sustainably sourced, and the company said it is on target to reach its goal of reaching 70% of its global coffee sustainably sourced by 2015. The company’s $200 million Coffee Made Happy program is aimed at establishing long-term viability of coffee farming by creating one million farming entrepreneurs by 2020.

“We can have real impact on the ground — inspire, train and build capacity to improve coffee farmers’ livelihoods and attract new generations to small-scale farming,” said Roland Weening, president of the coffee division at Mondelēz. “Together with our partners, we can help farmers solve challenges and secure a more sustainable coffee supply.”

In wheat, a core ingredient in Mondelēz biscuits, the company set a goal to reach 75% of its Western European biscuit volume to be made with so-called Harmony wheat by 2015. Created in 2008, Harmony is the name of a sustainable partnership with European participants across the entire wheat production and research chain. The program outlines ways to promote local biodiversity of products and better environmental practices in wheat production. Mondelēz said it is on target to reach the goal by 2015 after 44% of Western European biscuits were made with Harmony wheat in 2013.

The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (R.S.P.O.), established in 2004, was created to promote the production and use of sustainable palm oil. While Mondelēz “recognizes its limitations” (controversy erupted last year over a forest fire in Southeast Asia blamed by some on R.S.P.O. farming practices), set the goal to have 100% of the palm oil R.S.P.O. certified by 2015. Since 2013, 100% of the palm oil is R.S.P.O. — two years ahead of schedule.
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