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Mondelez Backing Up Sustainability Talk with Third-Party Auditing Partnership

coffee made happy mondelez international

Mondelez International Facebook photo.

Mondelez International, the world’s second largest coffee company in terms of sales revenue, is for the first time entering into a third-party auditing partnership for its existing coffee supply sustainability efforts.

The company — which owns coffee brands including Jacobs, Carte Noire, Kenco and Tassimo — says its two-year-old Coffee Made Happy program represents a $200 million investment in building business and agricultural skills among its network of farmers, with added goals of increasing farm yields and attracting younger populations and women to coffee farming. Through this new auditing effort, the global coffee giant has an opportunity not only to protect its own investments, but to prove its sustainability talk isn’t just lip service.

(related: Public-Private Partnerships Failing Smallholders (See Nyeri), Says Fairtrade Foundation)

Mondelez is partnering with the Committee On Sustainability Assessment (COSA), a global consortium of institutions that works to accelerate sustainability in agriculture through practical assessment tools to measure environmental, economic and social impacts. In short, COSA’s takes an outcome-based approach to analyzing sustainability projects on the ground, rather than merely measuring the implementation of projects.

“We can have real impact on the ground [to] inspire, train and build capacity to improve coffee farmers’ livelihoods and attract new generations to small-scale farming,” Mondelez’s coffee division president Roland Weening said in an announcement late last week. “This is important to guarantee the future of quality coffee to the world. Our evaluation framework drives impactful investment, unprecedented levels of transparency and — because we source from the projects where we invest — ensures accountability to our partners and our consumers.”

(related: 4C Certifications Triple in 2012-13, Code Revisions Coming in 2014)

COSA’s evaluation framework will involve yearly assessments of existing Coffee Made Happy programs — some of which are already running in Honduras, Indonesia, Peru and Vietnam — as well as impact assessments made after programs have ended. Those will measure how well sustainability and social initiatives performed in meeting their stated goals.

In addition to the third-party evaluation agreement, Mondelez has also created an independent advisory board — composed of people from groups such as 4C Association, the U.N. Development Program’s Green Commodities division, the World Wildlife Fund and the Rainforest Alliance — to help maximize the impact of the company’s existing $200 million investment in Coffee Made Happy.

(related: Consumer Group Fair World Project Rates the Buying Practices of 19 U.S. Roasters)


1 Comment

dean cycon

Don’t take any of this too seriously. These companies and well-intentioned but well paid consultants will talk and talk, plan and plan, then do some minor implementation and forget the whole thing in a few years. Just like Starbux ten million dollar commitment to build wells in Ethiopia. After getting great press they let the thing evaporate. People have a short attention span, as these marketers well know, and they get the buzz from the headlines and move on to the latest cat videos.

Sound and fury signifying nothing (apologies to Shakespeare).

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