DEERFIELD, Ill., April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Mondelez International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDLZ) today announced new commitments to promote women's empowerment by extending its reporting on gender rights in cocoa farming, ensuring a consistent approach to gender programs in key cocoa origin markets and advocating for industrywide action.
The commitments build on the company's five years of experience promoting women's rights in cocoa production and are part of Mondelez International's Cocoa Life sustainability program - a $400 million, 10-year effort launched in November 2012 and based on its successful Cocoa Partnership in Ghana.
"Gender equality benefits everyone and is essential if cocoa communities are to thrive," said Christine McGrath, Vice President of External Affairs and Cocoa Life at Mondelez International. "Our experience shows an increased involvement of women in the supply base leads to improved financial management by farmers, better education for youth, more sustainable, thriving communities and, over time, reduced child labor. Promoting women's empowerment has been a cross-cutting theme in Cocoa Life since 2008. Today, we commit to share our experience and to advocate for collaborative action on women's rights in cocoa.""Oxfam welcomes Mondelez International's leadership in making clear commitments to advance women's rights," said Judy Beals, Campaign Manager for Oxfam's Behind the Brands Campaign, responding to Mondelez International's announcement. "We recognize the company's pledge to step up transparency in this area to enable the company to be more accountable and to allow independent observers to judge their progress. We look forward to seeing Mondelez International turn these commitments into measurable actions." "Mondelez International recognizes the centrality of empowered women to ensuring thriving cocoa farming communities," said Mil Niepold, Senior Mediator, The Consensus Building Institute, and lead advisor for Mondelez International's Cocoa Life monitoring, evaluation and verification framework. "As an external adviser on Cocoa Life, my role is to help the company design a highly credible reporting system that's transparent and verified independently by experts the External Advisory Council selects. The heart of monitoring and verification, however, is the opportunity for us all to learn what works best and what more can be done to improve conditions on the ground."