Mondelēz International’s Deforestation Policy Under Scrutiny for Inadequacy

After recently receiving a failing “F” grade for its weak policies against deforestation in Rainforest Action Network’s (RAN) annual Keep Forests Standing Scorecard, Mondelēz International has quietly issued a new statement on deforestation on the company’s website. RAN has examined the new statement and says significant concerns remain about Mondelēz’s commitment to addressing environmental destruction and human rights violations driven by the company’s sourcing practices.

RAN Forest Policy Director Gemma Tillack issued the following statement:

“Mondelēz’s new statement on deforestation is not a credible policy and demonstrates that the company’s position still falls short of its peers that have adopted detailed and verifiable policies that commit them to enforcing best practice No Deforestation, No Peatland and No Exploitation (NDPE) standards across their forest-risk supply chains. For major global brands like Mondelēz to effectively address their tarnished reputations for driving deforestation and human rights violations, they must adopt holistic NDPE policies that apply across the commodities the brand purchases and are implemented at the corporate group level of all suppliers. 

“After many years of evidence and documentation, Mondelēz still does not seem to get the fundamental point that rooting out deforestation is inextricably linked to upholding the land rights of Indigenous and forest-dependent communities. 

“Mondelez’s new targets and its ‘phased approach’ for ending deforestation in its supply chain is controversial because permitting deforestation for two more years outside the EU is not acceptable in the midst of the current rapidly escalating climate and biodiversity crises. Weakening the company’s cut-off date commitments is appalling and actually represents a backslide from past commitments it made to end sourcing from suppliers that had cleared forests for palm oil since Dec 2015. This approach would mean the company is condoning five years of deforestation in rainforests, including in global biodiversity hotspots critical to the survival of highly endangered wildlife species like Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem, a region where RAN has conclusively linked Mondelēz to forest destruction in an area long known as the ‘orangutan capital of the world.’   

Where the company needs to be setting mandatory requirements for corporate groups it sources from to end deforestation across their supply chains, Mondelēz instead repeats vague and weak language.

Despite the changing regulatory environment, Mondelēz has not disclosed target dates and time-bound plans to achieve full traceability for all supply chains, and continues to rely on insufficient traceability commitments for palm oil that reach only to the mill level and not the actual plantation where the oil is grown. 

Additionally, while palm oil, soy, pulp, and paper are considered, beef and other problematic commodities that contribute to the company’s forest footprint and impact on frontline communities are conspicuously omitted. Mondelēz has missed another opportunity to take the bold action urgently needed to cut deforestation from its operations, and instead has perpetuated its position as a laggard among global brands.”The problems with Mondelēz International’s deforestation policy underscores the importance of continuous improvement in corporate sustainability practices. RAN calls on Mondelēz to strengthen its policies in line with industry best practices to effectively address environmental and social impacts.”