MONDELĒZ INTERNATIONAL Advances Sustainable Palm Oil sourcing with Advance traceability

Mondelēz International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDLZ) announced on Thursday significant progress in advancing requirements for traceable, forest-monitored palm oil and confirms strong progress against sustainable sourcing goals.

The new requirements include traceability to plantation and satellite monitoring covering all palm oil concessions* supplying mills attributed to the company, against the deforestation criteria set out in its Palm Oil Action Plan. All mills must be identified on Global Forest Watch, with no active grievances against concessions in their direct supply, or operated by the same producer groups elsewhere. In addition, suppliers must have third-party assurance of their monitoring process and systems used and be subject to cross-check by Mondelēz International.

From Q1 2021, the company expects 80% of its palm oil to meet these enhanced expectations with strong supplier partnership, working to increase coverage as quickly as possible.

The enhanced sourcing requirements will improve transparency across the sector by requiring suppliers to confirm sustainable sourcing practices across their entire supply chain by 2025, not just the portion supplied to Mondelēz International. They form part of Mondelēz International long-term ambition to eliminate deforestation and forced labor in the palm oil supply chain and support the aims of the Consumer Goods Forum #Forestpositive Coalition.

“We have a unique opportunity to help create a future where sustainable practices are universal across the palm oil sector,” said Quentin Roach, Chief Procurement Officer at Mondelēz International. “As a company we are continuing to pioneer partnership and action with our suppliers to ensure they share and actively support not only our commitment, but the larger collective commitment to realize a forest positive future where a highly efficient ingredient like palm oil is sustainably sourced across the sector.”

“AAK is delighted that Mondelēz International has enhanced its commitment to sustainable palm oil, and is committed to working with Mondelēz International to achieve its goals. Sustainability is key to AAK’s future, including palm oil sustainability in particular. It is critical that representatives along the supply chain join forces to continue the momentum towards a fully sustainable palm oil industry. As one of the key leaders in the market, Mondelēz International sends a strong message with its new announcement, joining AAK as a catalyst for change,” said Jan Lenferink, Vice President AAK AB.

“We are supplying traceable palm oil from areas covered by our in-house land use change monitoring program to Mondelēz International and have always been impressed with their passion and sense of urgency for sustainability. We have appreciated their collaborative approach in setting high standards and utilizing industry frameworks that can be leveraged by all suppliers. We share the belief that close engagement with our customers and suppliers is key, as our sustainability goals can only be achieved through the commitment and collaboration of all stakeholders. We are proud to be able to support Mondelēz International in advancing their sustainable palm oil sourcing and deliver a positive impact together,” said Ben Vreeburg, Sr. Director Sustainability for Tropical Oils, Bunge Loders Croklaan.

Despite representing around 0.5% of demand for palm oil, Mondelēz International has taken a leadership position on palm oil sustainability and recognizes that all actors have a role to play in achieving a solution to this complex problem.  The company has maintained 100% RSPO palm oil coverage since 2018, 98% of the company’s palm oil comes from suppliers with aligned-to policies across their entire supply chain and the company takes action against groups who don’t comply, including the suspension of 89 mills in 2019.

“Many corporations are working hard to address deforestation and achieve better transparency in their supply chains. We are proud to work together with MDLZ to further reduce the environmental impact of the palm oil sector, and make meaningful progress more visible using the combination of daily satellite analytics and granular supply chain data,” said Niels Wielaard CEO of Satelligence.

Boosting Oil Palm Farming in Sierra Leone – Teachers and Army officers rise to the challenge

Farming in Daru, a town in the Kailahun district of Sierra Leone has long been the preserve of the uneducated. But thanks to some teachers and army officers in the community, the status quo is changing. Engaged in oil palm cultivation, the two groups are determined to shape the narrative and to help boost oil palm production in the country.

Solidaridad through its Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Programme (SWAPP), which seeks to contribute to the transformation of the oil palm sector in West Africa, is supporting the teachers and the army officers with technical expertise on best management practices, as well as improved seedlings for the establishment of oil palm farms.

So far, the programme has supported the two groups with 950 improved oil palm seedlings for planting and provided technical assistance to enhance the optimal cultivation of the commodity. 

10-acre land and these have been intercropped with rice to help them to be self-sufficient in food. 

“The army has the manpower and structures to make this project successful. The soldiers here have also been trained as farmers and thus working on farms is now like any other routine, with daily supervision,” says Major Peter Brima Conteh, second in command of the One Infantry Battalion at Moa Barracks. “The first phase of the project would benefit residents of the barracks, but the goal is for the Armed Forces Agricultural Unit to take over the ownership of the farm. We are confident that this would lead to a food self-sufficient army, reduce the burden on the national consolidated fund and create space for other important developments he says.   

Fourteen teachers ofthe Kailahun District Education Committee have established a five-acre oil palm farm with 300 improved oil palm seedlings they received from Solidaridad. 

Momson Garmoh, a teacher at Kailahun District Committee Primary School and a beneficiary of the programme, explains that the support will not only benefit him but also the school on whose land the oil palm is being cultivated.

“Palm oil is used largely in our vicinity and forms a key component of the meals prepared for pupils in my school. Once palm oil production begins, it would help reduce the cost of providing nutritious meals to the children under the school feeding programme. This will surely increase enrolment and retention of pupils in our school,” says Momson.

He indicates that proceeds from the sale of fresh fruit bunches would be used to rehabilitate the school’s building, construct a water facility, and support teachers’ welfare.

The Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Programme, funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana, as part of its strategies to support more smallholder oil palm farmers in the district encouraged the formation of farmer groups, of which the teachers and army officers belong.  This makes it easier for beneficiaries to receive support from the programme.

“Teachers and army officers are highly regarded and respected in their communities. Having them engaged in the oil palm cultivation would motivate other farmers to also go into oil palm cultivation. The involvement of the teachers is a special boost for the youth to recognize the value of agriculture in the country,” says John Maada Sinah, the programme manager for SWAPP at Solidaridad in Sierra Leone.

The second phase of the Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Programme is aimed at scaling up sustainable oil palm production and enhancing the efficiency of mills to process fresh fruit bunches into crude palm oil. Besides Sierra Leone, Solidaridad implements the programme in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Liberia.

The programme is facilitating the establishment and operations of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to provide farm management services, promote investment in efficient palm oil processing mills and build the capacity of farmers to adopt best management practices on their respective farms. So far, the programme has benefitted 5,225 farmers in 178 communities. 

How the ‘Gender Model Family’ is changing communities in remote Sierra Leone

We are escorted into the bush of mainly palm trees about half a mile or more from the dwellings of Kamasu village, Tunkia Chiefdom, Kenema District, Eastern Sierra Leone. The villagers say they only allowed us because we are journalists. The rule is that during this COVID-19 ‘no strangers are allowed’.

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“We are observing the precautionary measures,” says one of our escorts, referencing the COVID-19 bye laws put in place by the village Chief, and adjusting his locally made face mask which keeps sliding while he talks.

In a cleared area within the palm tree plantations, a group of men and women are busy producing palm oil using a Sierra Leonean-made oil processing machine. One woman is emptying boiled palm kernels into the mouth of the machine while two others- two at both ends of a long stick passed through the top hub of the processor- are pushing the stick in circle until the peels are squashed. It is a hard job, especially for the women, but not as physically demanding as the traditional method of using their feet and later pounding.

Before they had the machine, it’s a rigid process to produce palm oil according to Baby Bockarie, one of the farmers, who is also the wife of the village Chief.

“We used to carry the palm kernels on our heads, dig a hole and dump them, cover them with palm fronds for a couple of days and stamp with our feet. After that we do a lot of pounding as well. Now, with this machine given to us by SEND Sierra Leone, it is easier, faster, cleaner and we produce more,” explains Baby Bockarie.

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Before the machine, she explains further, it takes two to three days to process a drum full of palm kernels. They will boil today, stamp in a hole the next day and pound on the day after. Now it takes less than a day to process the same quantity of palm kernels.

In a day the machine can process for three groups under the gender model family (GMF), each comprising of 15 or more members. On this particular day the processing is for Baby Bockarie’s group. The GMF encourages the families to operate as a unified unit with shared responsibilities among family members. We understand later that it is the vehicle the NGO uses to roll out community development initiatives like the oil palm processing machine by enhancing community cohesion and mobilisation.

Under the GMF, the families benefit from trainings in family life, health and hygiene best practices, small business development and savings, best agronomic practices, natural management of pest and diseases control, farm size experience through “smart” agriculture and resilience farming through “Climate smart” agriculture.

“We used to quarrel a lot within the family and with our neighbours, and usually we end up at the Chief’s house to resolve the conflicts. After the trainings we have learnt to live together in peace and respect for one another. If there are any issues they are settled within the group,” explains Chief Bockarie Koroma, who also participates in the palm oil processing.

The Bockarie’s have four children, two males and two females. Both family heads don’t know their ages or dates of birth.

The trainings have also helped the villagers to maintain a healthy environment by cleaning their communities and even their farms regularly, digging pits some distance off the community to dump garbage, ensuring each household has a toilet, erect cloth lines to dry their clothes and build tables for cooking utensils such as plates, pans, bowls and pots.

Diversified agriculture has increased their number of nutritious crops cultivated in the past two years and thus improve their nutrition status. In addition to other nutritious crops (Benni, Beans, Maize, Banana and Plantain) supplied to them in the first year of the project, they have been supplied additional groundnut seeds this planting season as group support which account for four acres of groundnut farmland cultivated this year.

By this time a group of staff of the NGO has joined us. They are traveling from one village to another inspecting their project activities. The oil palm presser is provided to the community under a project called Linking Agriculture, Nutrition and Natural Resources (LANN+) funded by German donor agency WHH.

“This project seeks to promote income generation for the locals through value addition to their products,” explains Tity Simbo Kamara, the Program Manager of the project.

Apart from the individual household farms, the community has eight acres of palm oil plantation. Proceeds from the community plantation is re-invested in other agricultural products while some amount is saved for maintenance of the machine. The GMF households also do the same. A small fee is charged for use of the machine. For every drum of palm oil produced, one gallon is given to the community as fee. Neighbouring villages such as Hao and Jewahun sometimes also borrow the machine to process their produce and pay the fee. Chief Bockarie lead us to a store in the village where they keep them. We count 70 jerry cans of palm oil they have collected since they received the processing machine in February 2020. There’s a secretary that keeps record of the payments.

They could have had more in store if it were not for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the store keeper.

“The government restrictions and the lockdown are affecting our work,” he laments. “ ‘Dawei’ (the periodic market) is suspended and seeds are difficult to get. Farming is by season and the rains are almost here.”

For the about 1000 people of Kamasu village, COVID-19 will soon go away and life will return to normal.

“We can’t wait for this sickness to end. We want to go back to our farms and work full time. We are not used to sitting at home idly,” says Baby Bockarie.

Story by Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, (President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists), and Alhaji Manika Kamara.

SIERRA LEONE: Solidaridad launches new initiatives to transform cocoa and oil palm sectors

By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)

Mamie Vandy, a cocao farmer, dries her cocoa seeds in Benduman village near Daru

Solidaridad in Sierra Leone will on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 launch two major initiatives aimed at improving sustainable production of cocoa and oil palm in the country.

The Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP) and the Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Programme (SWAPP) will support over 45,000 cocoa and oil palm farmers in Sierra Leone to improve their incomes and livelihoods. Moreover, the programmes will facilitate the creation of an enabling policy environment for service delivery to farmers through small and medium enterprises. The cocoa (CORIP) and oil palm (SWAPP) programmes are both funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Accra, Ghana and will run until December 2021.

Solidaridad West Africa is implementing cocoa and oil palm programmes in Sierra Leone guided by the organization’s experience in implementing similar interventions in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria since 2012. 

CORIP is centered on the large-scale adoption of the sustainable intensification of cocoa production through improved access to recommended inputs (improved planting material, agro chemicals, fertilizer, crop protection), extension and financial services. This will be done by facilitating the setting up and operation of service delivery enterprises known as the Farmer Support Centre (‘for beteh Cacao and Banga’) in Sierra Leone. This will be pursued by improving access to affordable finance and technical support for the establishment of service centres that will supply farmers with quality inputs and technical services for improved cocoa production.

SWAPP, on the other hand, aims at scaling up sustainable intensification of oil palm production and enhancing mill efficiency for processing of Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) into crude palm oil. The programme will achieve this by facilitating access to finance for the establishment and operations of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to provide farm management services, promote investment in efficient palm oil processing mills and build capacity of farmers to adopt Best Management Practices (BMP) on their respective farms.

Both programmes will create opportunities for women and youth to actively participate in efforts to improve their livelihoods.

In Sierra Leone, CORIP is implemented in Kenema, Kailahun and Kono Districts, while SWAPP is implemented in Kenema and Kailahun Districts.

The two programmes are implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and our private sector partners – Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Company, Tradin (SL) Ltd, FT Saad and Randlyn Holdings (SL) Ltd.

The launch of CORIP and SWAPP will take place at the Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel, Freetown and will be attended by about 200 participants made up of government institutions, smallholder cocoa and oil palm farmers, service providers, development partners, financial institutions the media, among others.

Solidaridad has built a reputation as a catalyzer for sustainable innovations in commodity supply chains in the past 50 years. Their goal is to improve livelihoods for vulnerable producers, while respecting the planet, each other and the next generation. As an international development organization, Solidaridad operates on five continents through eight Regional Expertise Centre’s (RECs) and focuses on producing more with less and ensuring it is done in a way that is good for people and the environment. In West Africa, Solidaridad operates in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. They are currently managing various programmes and projects in sustainable production of cocoa, oil palm, maize and gold in the focus countries.

Mondelēz International Calls for 100% Sustainability and 100% Transparency in Palm Oil Sourcing


Mondelēz International will cease contracts with upstream suppliers engaged in deforestation

Mondelēz International has amplified its call for suppliers of palm oil to embrace its goal of 100% sustainability and 100% transparency across the industry.

The company has challenged its supply chain and the entire sector to be sustainable and transparent in the production of palm oil since 2010.

Throughout the years, Mondelēz International has continuously raised the bar for itself and its suppliers and there has been substantial progress in suppliers implementing sustainability policies and improving traceability. Nevertheless, there is more the industry needs to do in the palm oil supply chain to prevent deforestation. Mondelēz International’s suppliers have achieved industry leading levels of traceability with its Palm Oil Action Plan but there remains a gap between the current state and our goal of 100% sustainability and 100% transparency.

To close that gap, urgent action is needed across the entire supply chain to improve performance and deliver benefits to people, eco-systems and the economies in producing countries. Ahead of the 16th Annual Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Palm Oil this week, Mondelēz International is calling on suppliers to:

  1. Commit to palm oil concession mapping as a vital step to accountability and change. Concession mapping enables Mondelēz International and its suppliers to identify and focus on areas of highest risk for deforestation. Unfortunately, publication of concession maps is not progressing fast enough. In 2016, Mondelēz International asked its suppliers to map all the mills they buy from on Global Forest Watch, as well as their own concessions, and engage their upstream suppliers to publish concession maps on GFW. Although strong progress has been made on first two, the company is now requiring them to provide universal, group-wide concession maps for upstream suppliers as a condition of doing business.
  1. Act faster to eliminate deforestation in their palm oil supply through time-bound remediation plans or Mondelēz International will cease contracts with upstream suppliers engaged in deforestation. While Mondelēz International supports efforts to identify companies growing palm oil unsustainably and provide an opportunity to reform, engagement must deliver results. Therefore, Mondelēz International is excluding of 12 upstream suppliers as a result of breaches.

“Mondelēz International remains fully committed to driving change in the palm oil sector and today’s actions against 12 upstream suppliers reflect that commitment,” said Jonathan Horrell, Global Director of Sustainability at Mondelēz International. “We will continue to pursue existing and new initiatives that seek to drive effective change across palm oil-growing communities. The company understands that this complex challenge can only be solved through collaboration with all actors in the palm oil supply chain, from growers to suppliers and buyers, as well as local and national government and non-governmental organizations.”