Amsterdam — Looking to measure the impact of its Cocoa Life program on farmers and their communities, Mondelez International, Inc. and Harvard University have set up an independent verification framework for the sustainability initiative.
The verification system comprises of three parts. First, a Harvard research team will conduct an annual independent evaluation with a group of local university post-grad students to collect data for measuring the program’s impact. In addition, every three years, a team from Harvard will conduct a holistic study of Cocoa Life to ensure it is on track as well as compare it with control communities outside the program.
Finally, a third-party organization will verify the flow of cocoa from communities involved with the initiative on an ongoing basis, the company reports.
Christine McGrath, vice-president, external affairs, says: “The verification process we have developed forms the backbone of our approach. It drives transparency and, because we source from the farming communities where we invest, ensures accountability to our partners and our consumers. As a result, our approach will not only help us secure our own supplies, but also, by empowering communities that supply us, help promote a sustainable future for the cocoa industry.”