Women and cocoa evaluation

In the spring of 2013, Oxfam’s Behind the Brands initiative launched a campaign to urge food and beverage companies to do more to ensure equal rights and treatment of women in their supply chains. The campaign focused on Mars, Mondelez and Nestle, who together source nearly 30 percent of the world’s cocoa, and urged them to step up efforts to address endemic inequality and discrimination in their cocoa supply chains.

More than 100,000 people, as well as concerned investors and other groups, joined Oxfam to call on these companies to understand how women in their cocoa supply chains are faring and create aggressive action plans to increase gender equality in the production of their ingredients. By April 2013 all three companies stepped up and made commitments to conduct impact assessments within their supply chains and to publish clear action plans to address the issues raised by these impact assessments. Oxfam commended these commitments as an important step toward tackling gender inequality.

Now, over a year later, Oxfam commissioned an independent evaluation of the progress companies have made in fulfilling their commitments.

The evaluation provides an analysis of four gender impact assessments and action plans published by the world’s “Big Three” chocolate companies in Côte d’Ivoire (all three) and Ghana (just Mondelez).

Oxfam funded this objective review of company progress to ensure an effective monitoring process of the commitments and mutual accountability for the companies involved. This evaluation is a tool to help assess whether companies are meeting their public commitments.

Here are the Mondelez and Nestle's responses to our new recommendations:

  • Mondelez, 31 Oct 2014 - Gender is a key cross-cutting theme of our Cocoa Life program, so we welcome the independent expert’s finding that our gender action plans for Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire “stood out as being reasonably comprehensive and significantly stronger” than other action plans assessed. We will review the findings with our non-profit implementing partners and external advisers to identify if there are areas where we can strengthen Cocoa Life’s gender work.”
  • Nestle, 30 Oct 2014 - “We will  look closely at the areas Oxfam have highlighted for improvement and welcome the comments  made.“