Answers to frequently asked questions

What is Cocoa Life?

Cocoa Life is Mondelēz International’s global cocoa sustainability program. Cocoa is the essence of our chocolate and vital to our business, so we need to ensure it is ‘made right’.

Making it right means tackling the complex challenges that cocoa farmers and their communities face, including climate change, gender inequality, poverty and child labor.

Cocoa Life is addressing these challenges holistically across six cocoa-growing countries: Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, India and Brazil. We work on the ground, hand-in-hand with the men and women who make their living from cocoa, focusing on where we can make a difference: turning cocoa into a sustainable business, creating inclusive and empowered communities and conserving and restoring forests.

In doing so, Cocoa Life is growing opportunities for cocoa farmers and their families, by tackling all of these problems together. We are investing $400m over 10 years to empower 200,000 cocoa farmers and improve the lives of more than one million people in cocoa communities.

How many Mondelēz International brands source cocoa through Cocoa Life?

Currently, nine Mondelēz International chocolate brands are part of Cocoa Life: CADBURY DAIRY MILK, CÔTE D’OR, MILKA, FREIA, DAIM, GREEN & BLACK’S, SUCHARD, MARABOU and LACTA BRAZIL. The GREEN & BLACK’S brand covers Cocoa Life cocoa volume for the brand’s velvet range. The LACTA brand in Brazil covers Cocoa Life volume for the LACTA INTENSE range.

By the end of 2025, this will extend to all Mondelēz International chocolate brands. This is an important step for our brands, as it will ensure their cocoa volume is sustainably sourced, while also bringing them closer to their consumers.

What makes the Cocoa Life program different?

As one of the world’s largest cocoa sustainability programs, we can create a positive impact at scale. There are many organizations doing great work in cocoa growing communities – but what differentiates us is that we focus on tackling the root causes of the complex challenges cocoa farmers face, holistically. We don’t fix one problem only to create another.

We have teams on the ground who work hand-in-hand with cocoa farmers and their families to empower them to make cocoa farming a sustainable business. Our teams help build communities so they can take on their own development, while conserving the land and forests.

We also have a network of expert partners, such as supply chain partners, cocoa farming organizations and external advisors, who help us deliver this program and work with governments to help create the right environment for change. For years we have engaged independent third parties to verify our supply chain to understand the impact of our actions, so we can work to continuously improve our program to meet farmers’ needs.

What are the benefits of Cocoa Life?

We created Cocoa Life to help grow opportunities for cocoa farmers and communities, consumers and the Mondelēz business by working to achieve the following benefits:

For cocoa farmers and cocoa growing communities:
  • Cocoa Life registered farmers and their families are better equipped to thrive and improve their livelihoods with the aim of making cocoa a sustainable business, leading to financial security for the farmers and their communities. Learn more about our progress here.
  • Communities are empowered to take charge of their own development, increase their income, and respect human rights. Learn more about our progress here.
  • Restored and conserved forests benefit the ecosystem and the communities that live within it. Learn more about our progress to protect forests here and here.
For consumers:
  • At Mondelēz International our purpose is to empower people to snack right. And snacking made right starts with the sustainable sourcing of our essential raw ingredients – including cocoa through Cocoa Life – to ensure they are made right, with respect to people and planet. Choosing the Cocoa Life logo means everyone can love our chocolate as much as we do, because it’s made the right way, protecting the planet and respecting the human rights of people in our value chain.
  • By buying a chocolate bar with the Cocoa Life logo, you can be sure that Cocoa Life farming communities are supported. Learn more about how we manage our cocoa supply here and here.
For Mondelēz International:
  • Cocoa Life strengthens our global chocolate business by securing a sustainable supply of the most important ingredient for chocolate, and deepens our connection with cocoa-growing countries. By building a more robust supply chain, we can fuel our growth as a business by responding to consumer demand for sustainably sourced cocoa.
What does “sustainably sourced cocoa” mean to Mondelēz International?

At Mondelēz International, we’re on a mission to lead the future of snacking by creating snacks the right way for both people and the planet to love. To us, a sustainable approach is one that balances social, economic, and environmental factors. So when we talk about sustainable sourcing, we are referring to growing cocoa in ways that protects the people that grow it and the planet around us, whilst enabling farmers to prosper.

In action, that means the farmers we work with have been trained to use practices that conserve natural resources, including protecting and restoring forests. It means that farmers and their families are provided with the knowledge and skills needed to build long-lasting, prosperous businesses that support their livelihoods. And it means that we’re working to ensure human rights are respected within these farming communities – from helping to tackle child labor, to empowering women. Finally, we source cocoa from these communities, giving them the opportunity to trade with us on clear terms and to receive benefits such as price premiums and cocoa volumes agreed upfront.

What does the Cocoa Life logo on the chocolate bar mean?

The Cocoa Life logo means everyone can love our chocolate as much as we do, because it’s made the right way, with respect to people and planet. It means Cocoa Life registered cocoa farmers are receiving benefits of our cocoa sustainability program and that the challenges they face – poverty, gender inequality, child labor and climate change – are being addressed.

The Cocoa Life logo itself shows the inside of a cocoa pod. Cut across a cocoa pod and you will see cocoa beans in five sections – as in our logo. The beans in our logo are linked to represent Cocoa Life’s holistic approach.

Are all the cocoa beans in my chocolate from Cocoa Life registered farmers?

We work with more than 175,000 farmers who together grow enough (or more) cocoa to make every bar of chocolate with the Cocoa Life logo on pack. We trace this cocoa from the farm until it reaches our cocoa suppliers, who process our beans for us. This means we know that the amount of cocoa we use in our Cocoa Life marked products is grown sustainably and that the farmers we work with are receiving the benefits of our Cocoa Life program.

When Cocoa Life beans reach our cocoa suppliers, the beans are not kept separate from those grown by non-Cocoa Life farmers because this process of keeping the beans segregated is time intensive and costly, and doesn’t benefit Cocoa life registered farmers. That means beans from farmers within the Cocoa Life program will generally be mixed with beans from other farmers while being processed, so not all beans used to make our chocolate will be grown by Cocoa Life registered farmers.

Although non-Cocoa Life beans may get mixed with Cocoa Life beans, brands can only carry the Cocoa Life logo on pack because enough cocoa has been bought from farmers benefiting from the program to meet that brand’s production needs. This is a widely used approach called mass balance.

We believe what matters most is that farmers receive the full benefit of our investment in the Cocoa Life program and are growing cocoa in a sustainable way. So we’ve chosen to invest in our growers, rather than in separating cocoa all the way through to the chocolate bar. The mass balance approach is typical for the cocoa industry and is used by other global chocolate companies and certification organizations.

How does mass balance work?

Cocoa is transported and processed in large quantities, which makes it very expensive and time intensive to keep beans grown by Cocoa Life farmers separate from those grown by other farmers. That’s why we and many other global chocolate companies and certification organizations use mass balance to source cocoa (and some other ingredients) sustainably.

Here’s how it works:

What does Cocoa Life do to help tackle deforestation?

We believe helping to conserve the land and forests where cocoa is grown is a promise to future generations. We were the first company to raise the issue of deforestation in the cocoa sector at COP in Paris and are a founding signatory of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative – a public-private partnership to end deforestation and promote forest restoration and protection.

We are committed to help ending deforestation in cocoa through Cocoa Life by putting farmers and families at the heart of our actions:

  • We are helping farmers to grow more cocoa on less land so that they don’t expand into forests. We encourage farming activities that improve farmers’ productivity and ultimately income. We can see agroforestry is a part of the solution: producing the same volume of cocoa from less land will leave farmers room for crop diversification, and stop farm expansion into protected areas.
  • We train farmers and communities to adopt best agricultural and environmental practices to become more sustainable, efficient and resilient.

We believe understanding where and under which conditions cocoa is produced is critical to tackling deforestation, as is close collaboration with partners, communities and governments to put the right policies and plans in place.

Specific actions we have taken include the following initiatives.

  • We are mapping Cocoa Life registered farms in an effort to gain a deep understanding of the land needs of farming communities and the boundaries of farms. We use satellites to monitor the mapped farms to ensure they don’t encroach into forests.
  • We’ve already supported more than 175,000 farmers by sharing best agricultural practices to increase yield and protect the environment and distributed over 1.4 million non-cocoa trees on cocoa farms to provide additional sources of income and shade to help cocoa grow. The distribution of non-cocoa trees is an important part of sustainable cocoa farming: they safeguard cocoa against too much sun and heat, help safeguard biodiversity and can provide additional income for farmers.
  • To encourage farmers and communities to adopt best environmental practices such as planting non-cocoa trees to promote diversification, we provide financial incentives to encourage them to become more sustainable, efficient and resilient (payment for environmental services / PES). We currently have incentives for more than 1,000 farmers in place in Côte d’Ivoire where the roll-out has started, and target 33,000 farmers in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia by the end of 2022.
  • Our community development programs empower communities to develop their own forest protection and restoration plans, ensuring a sense of ownership on the ground.

For more information visit /the-program/climate-change

What does Cocoa Life do to prevent child labor in its supply chain?

At Cocoa Life, we believe the work of children is education and play. We condemn child labor and work with partners to help tackle the root causes of child labor with a holistic, community-centric approach.

We work to address the risk of child labor in the global cocoa supply chain with a three-pronged approach: it focuses on prevention, monitoring and remediation, with a heavy emphasis on addressing the systemic root causes of child labor.

Prevention
  • Cocoa Life’s holistic approach works to address the root causes of child labor around poverty and lack of rural development: Through our Community Action Plans, we develop interventions that contribute to preventing child labor:
    • Improve income from cocoa farming as well as additional sources
    • Empower communities to advocate for their own development
    • Empower women at household and community level
    • Improve access to quality education
  • Prosperous cocoa farms mean farmers are less likely to rely on their children to support in their work. Empowered women and communities, who understand their development needs, will push for their children to remain in school. And children, who have access to quality education, will have a chance at the bright future they deserve.

Strengthening child protection systems
In addition to preventative interventions, we are rolling out targeted interventions to build and strengthen child protection systems, in partnership with local ities. While the interventions may differ across origins, our approach in strengthening child protection systems are aligned with Cocoa Life’s mission to lead the transformation of the cocoa sector and the below principles:

  • Community-based: we believe that thriving cocoa growing communities – where communities are empowered to be accountable for the well-being of their children – are the foundation of a sustainable cocoa supply chain.
  • System-strengthening and sustainable: where the communities and families have access to basic services and infrastructure, and children have access to quality education, community ities and government institutions are more capable in fulfilling their duty to protect children’s rights and keeping children safe from harm.
  • Rights-based and child-centric: to ensure the best interests of the child are considered, as enshrined under the UN Child Rights Convention, which involves approaching child protection in its broader sense, beyond the narrow issue of child labor in cocoa, to include all child rights issues within the community.

Monitoring and remediation
  • In Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, where extensive research, including studies commissioned by Mondelēz International, confirms a high risk of child labor in the cocoa sector, we are working with local ities and partners to roll out community-based Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS).
  • When we say ‘community-based’, we mean that like Cocoa Life, the CLMRS is centered on communities and their empowerment. To ensure the CLMRS are sustainable and able to run independently of Cocoa Life in the long-term, we focus on building the capacity of the communities themselves, as well as that of public ities to support them and fulfil their duty to protect human rights. That means, as part of our CLMRS, we:
    • Set up and train Child Protection Committees to become the focal point within the community and primary liaison to school and district ities
    • Work to identify vulnerable children, particularly those who are out of school, who are either at risk or in a situation of child labor, through household and children interviews
    • Engage vulnerable children’s parents and support children through collective and/or individual remediation
    • Share all data and learning with the ities to inform policy and refer identified cases for remediation whenever needed
    • Use government-developed tools to support national policies and avoid the development of parallel systems
    • Take a broader lens to consider child rights beyond child labor and cover all children in the community, whether their parents grow cocoa or not
    • Based on learnings from the CLMRS and wider Cocoa Life program, advocate with government for measures to obtain universal access to quality education for children in cocoa growing communities and beyond

For more information visit /the-program/child-labor

How does Cocoa Life support women in cocoa communities?

At Cocoa Life, we believe that gender equality benefits everyone, and women’s empowerment has been an important part of the program since we launched. Women are change-makers – encouraging children to stay in school, creating new sources of income for their families, and encouraging environmentally friendly practices. We know that providing women with training, access to farm inputs and finance improves agricultural productivity, builds livelihoods and helps cocoa communities thrive.

Some actions we are taking are:

  • Increasing women's access to farm inputs, land ownership and increasing membership of farmer groups or cooperative unions
  • Promoting leadership positions for women, ensuring equal representation and providing mentorship
  • Ensuring 50% of the young women in communities (age 15+) participate in youth-oriented programming
  • Helping women improve their livelihoods through access to finance, and business training

To date, more than 121,000 community members have participated in savings and loan groups to improve their access to finance, of which more than 70% are women.

More than 97,800 community members have been trained on gender awareness to help change attitudes regarding the roles of men and women.

For more information visit /the-program/womens-empowerment

How does Cocoa Life measure its progress and impact?

We FLOCERT (the global certifier for Fairtrade) and Ipsos (a third party research agency) to independently verify and measure our progress and keep us on track.

FLOCERT traces and verifies the flow of cocoa from Cocoa Life communities into the supply chain. It also confirms that our cocoa farmers are receiving the benefits of the program, such as premium payments. Verification provides transparency and enables us to quantify Cocoa Life’s impact on farming communities.

Ipsos works on the ground to measure our program and the impact we have. It looks at 10 key performance indicators – such as cocoa yield and reduction in child labor – to assess whether we’re creating the right change in these areas. We see this step as crucial for understanding the benefits our program creates and helping us to learn where we can improve.

What is the role of partnerships within Cocoa Life?

We believe partnerships are key to a holistic approach and lasting change. We work with governments, non-government organizations, supply chain partners and communities to leverage expertise, networks and ensure effective roll-out of Cocoa Life on the ground.

In origin countries, we partner with NGOs like CARE International, Fairtrade, Voluntary Services Oversees (VSO), World Vision, Swisscontact, Solidaridad and Save the Children. All these NGOs have extensive experience and work with cocoa communities to assess their needs and develop the action plans against which we invest through Cocoa Life. We work closely with our cocoa suppliers – the manufacturers who process our cocoa such as Barry Callebaut, Olam and Cargill – who have valuable on-the-ground expertise and existing relationships with cocoa farming communities. We also work with government cocoa ities at origin to support farmer training, cocoa research, and promote more sustainable practices across the cocoa sector.

For more information visit: /the-program/partners

What are the key challenges that the cocoa industry faces, and why haven’t they been solved yet?

We want to ensure cocoa is ‘made right’, with respect to people and planet. Cocoa Life is investing directly in tackling the root causes of challenges, including climate change, gender inequality, poverty and child labor.

These challenges are complex, and there are no quick or easy solutions, which is why our program takes a holistic approach.

We focus our efforts on the three areas where we can make the most difference: sustainable cocoa farming businesses; empowered cocoa communities; conserved and restored forests. (More here.)

Crucially, we believe that cross-sector collaboration and partnership is key to lasting change. That’s why we work with governments, non-government organizations, supply chain partners and communities to leverage their expertise, networks and ensure that the program is effectively rolled out on the ground.

We are proud of Cocoa Life’s progress and impact in cocoa communities and are committed to continuing our efforts in order to ensure the cocoa volumes for all Mondelēz International’s chocolate brands are sourced from the program by 2025.

This page was last updated in October 2020.