DEERFIELD, ILL. — Mondelez International is expanding its sustainable wheat sourcing initiative to cover 100% of the wheat that goes into its European biscuit brands by 2022.
In 2017, the sourcing program, called Harmony, included 1,700 farmers, 13 millers and 21 cooperatives across six markets, including Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland and Spain. By 2022, the company hopes to increase the tonnage to 280,000 tons. The amount would cover the volume of wheat needed to produce the company’s entire European biscuit portfolio.
“European consumers increasingly equate high-quality products with sustainable production,” said Hubert Weber, president of Mondelez’s European business. “They’re aware of the impact of their food choices on the environment and have high expectations of manufacturers to take their share of responsibility.
“As Europe’s largest biscuit baker, we can play a role in tackling challenges like climate change and resource shortages by promoting sustainable farming practices and improving biodiversity in our supply chain. In doing so, we contribute to creating a fairer, more transparent and integrated supply chain, in which good quality for consumers means a good impact on farmers and society.”
The Harmony program was introduced a decade ago in France, according to Mondelez International. It focuses on biodiversity and good environmental practices in wheat production. Farmers participating in the program work to conserve water, care for the soil, protect biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions. They do so through the selection of resilient wheat varieties, crop rotation and other practices. For example, 3% of the wheat-growing fields are dedicated to flower borders or hedges that provide pollen and nectar all year long to pollinators.
“Harmony is much more than an agreed set of sustainable wheat farming practices,” said Romeo Lacerda, president of biscuits for Mondelez Europe. “It’s a movement that connects everyone involved in our supply chain with others seeking to increase the positive impact we can make on our environment and biodiversity. By bringing N.G.O.s (non-government organizations) and farmers to work together, we can implement farming practices that are both effective and pragmatic. In doing so, we can act as a catalyst for positive change.”