Business for Development
Companies sourcing in developing countries generate incomes for poor producers and workers. Is this sourcing generating economic and social sustainability in their value chains? Research helps to understand how business can better promote development.
The chocolate industry generates incomes for cocoa producers in many developing countries. There are an estimated two million small-scale cocoa farmers in West Africa alone. Future growth of chocolate consumption is likely to be highest in the South (particularly Middle East and Asia). Globally, consumers are showing greater interest in the origin of the chocolate they buy.
There are significant challenges to the social and economic sustainability of cocoa production. Productivity and incomes are often low and cocoa production is failing to attract younger farmers. There are concerns about the future sourcing of quality cocoa.
Cadbury and Green & Black's have funded research at Manchester (BWPI and Sustainable Consumption Institute) into the social and economic sustainability of their chocolate value chains in Ghana, the Dominican Republic and India. Based on this research, the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership was launched (£50 million) to support cocoa farmers and their communities, and Cadbury Dairy Milk and Green & Black's entire range of chocolate bars were converted to Fairtrade.
In November 2012, Kraft/Mondelez International announced plans to build on this work by investing a further $400 million in Cocoa Life. Over ten years this cocoa sustainability initiative aims to improve the livelihoods and living conditions of more 200,000 cocoa farmers and about one million people in cocoa farming communities.
Cadbury funding has included:
Ghana study, published 2008 (PDF 4.4MB)(£100,000 – to Stephanie Barrientos at Institute of Development Studies [IDS], Sussex, UK)
Dominican Republic study (£100,000) - cited in The Guardian: read the article.
India study (PDF 265KB)(£154,000).
Gender production networks: Sustaining cocoa-chocolate sourcing in Ghana and India by Stephanie Barrientos. BWPI Working Paper No 186, June 2013 (PDF, 436KB).
Cocoa Production in the Dominican Republic: Sustainability, Challenges and Opportunities. Executive Summary by Amanda Berlan with Ame Berges (published June 2013) (PDF, 84KB).
Women in cocoa production: where is the gender equity? Stephanie Barrientos writes for the Guardian Sustainable Business Blog, 8 March 2013.
Mapping Sustainable Production in Ghanaian Cocoa: Report to Cadbury (published 2008) (PDF 4.4MB).
Empowering women pays: the importance of women in Ghanaian cocoa by Stephanie Barrientos (Capacity.org, Issue 44, Market, Smallholders and Empowerment, 26 March 2012) .
Supermarkets and agro-food companies are waking up to women’s important role across their global production networks. Food production and retailing are increasingly coordinated by large companies in the global North and South. Companies and policy makers need to better understand the gender transformation taking place in food retailing and sourcing.
Farming is increasingly a female occupation, as younger men leave the land. Yet women are rarely land owners, and often have difficulty obtaining credit or market access. As consumers, women’s independent purchasing power has increased with feminisation of the labour force.
Understanding and supporting women’s role in agro-food production and retailing is important for a number of reasons:
- Pressure on food supplies and prices: requires innovation and increased productivity. Supporting women farmers is critical to making agriculture more sustainable.
- Quality and standards: women often work in processing and packing, where quality is improved and standards applied. Skilling women workers enhances this.
- Fairer and sustainable development: women consumers are often more concerned than men about the origin of their purchases.
- Poverty reduction: research has shown that when a woman’s income increases, she is more likely than a man to spend it on improving her children’s welfare and education.
This research is being developed to analyse the changing role of women in global food sourcing, particularly in Africa and Asia. The research will inform companies and policy makers on the gender dimension of food sourcing and retail. It will examine how to support the wellbeing of women as farmers, workers, producers and consumers.
Improving Opportunities for Women in Smallholder-based Supply Chains: Business Case and Practical Guidance for International Food Companies (in three parts) by Man-Kwun Chan, with advisory input from Dr Stephanie Barrientos. Commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: