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Press Releases & Updates

06 MAY 2013

Mondelez International agrees to address women’s inequality in chocolate production

The biggest chocolate maker in the world, Mondelez International, has agreed to take steps to address inequality facing women in their cocoa supply chains following pressure from consumers as part of the international agency Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign. The other two major chocolate companies, Mars and Nestlé, had already made their commitment in March 2013.

Oxfam welcomes Mondelez International’s commitment to:

1. Conduct and publish impact assessments by third party organisations on women in their cocoa supply chains in order to understand and show how women are faring. The company will begin by publishing impact assessments in Ghana and Ivory Coast in 2014.
2. Put in place a specific action plan by 1 April 2014 that will address issues raised by the assessments and lead to the improvement of poor conditions in Ghana and Ivory Coast.  By 2018 Mondelez International will publish action plans for its Cocoa Life programme’s top four origin countries. Oxfam expects that these action plans will deliver better capacity towards a sustainable livelihood to women farmers and workers.
3. Sign onto the UN Women's Empowerment Principles by 26 April 2013. These principles demonstrate the company’s commitment at the CEO level to empower women across their entire operations. Mondelez International is the first of the three major chocolate companies to sign onto the principles.
4. Engage with other powerful actors in the cocoa industry to develop sector-wide programmes to address gender inequality. Mondelez International will work with industry sector organisations like the World Cocoa Foundation and certification schemes like Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade to advocate for greater focus on women’s equality.

“The impact of Mondelez International, Mars and Nestle’s promises, if kept, will reverberate across cocoa supply chains,” said Kalina Tsang, Senior Manager of Hong Kong Programme Unit of Oxfam. “The existing programme of Mondelez International, Cocoa Life, has built a good platform for gender-sensitive sustainability initiatives and these new commitments will expand that effort and ensure that women benefit in the same way as men.”

“More than 100,000 people signed petitions to urge the three companies to take actions. This latest commitment shows that no company is too big to listen to its customers. We hope that the steps taken by Mars, Mondelez International and Nestle offer an example to the rest of the food and beverage industry that consumers are paying attention to how companies impact the communities they work in,” said Tsang.

Oxfam will continue to monitor all three companies as they turn their pledges into specific and measurable actions. The Behind the Brands campaign will also continue to highlight areas where companies are not living up to their responsibilities to communities.

Notes to editors:
Specific on Mondelez International’s commitments: http://www.mondelezinternational.com/MediaCenter/index.aspx
Specific on Mars and Nestle’s commitments: http://www.oxfam.org.hk/en/news_2097.aspx

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About Oxfam
Oxfam is dedicated to fighting poverty and inequity worldwide. The international and independent development and humanitarian organisation tackles poverty in four main ways: sustainable development in poor communities, disaster relief, local, national and global advocacy, and education with Hong Kong youth. Established in Hong Kong in 1976, Oxfam Hong Kong is a founding member of Oxfam, an international confederation that has assisted poor people in 94 countries. Oxfam Hong Kong alone has supported poor people in over 70 countries/regions.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Shirley Chan
Assistant Communications Officer
Telephone: +852 3120-5281
Email: shirley.chan@oxfam.org.hk