Mondelez International has promised that by 2022 all of its biscuit brands in the EU will use wheat from sustainable sources.
Last year 60% of the company’s biscuit production in EU – in brands including Ritz, Oreo, Cadbury and belVita – used sustainably sourced wheat from the company’s Harmony programme.
The Harmony programme covers 1,700 farmers, 13 millers and 21 cooperatives across Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland and Spain, producing 177,000 tons of wheat for the company’s biscuit brands in 2017.
Under expansion plans annual production of wheat under the Harmony charter will increase to over 280,000 tons by 2022 – covering the company’s entire European biscuit portfolio.
Hubert Weber, executive vice president and president Europe, said: “As Europe’s largest biscuit baker, we can play a role in tackling challenges like climate change and resource shortages by promoting sustainable farming practices and improving biodiversity in our supply chain.
“In doing so, we contribute to creating a fairer, more transparent and integrated supply chain, in which good quality for consumers means a good impact on farmers and society.”
Harmony was launched 10 years ago in France to champion biodiversity and good environmental practices in wheat production in Europe.
The programme seeks the commitment of partner farmers to follow sustainable practices in the cultivation and processing of wheat in return for a premium on their crop.
Harmony practices are audited every year to ensure farmers minimise the use of pesticides and fertilisers, care for soil, avoid unnecessary treatments, reduce carbon emissions and preserve the quality of water.
Under the programme 3% of wheat-growing fields are dedicated to flower borders or hedges that provide pollen and nectar to pollinators.
Mondelez said the programme has led to a 20% reduction in pesticide use in Harmony fields, between 2009 and 2016.
It added that farmers in Europe have sown 1,026 hectares of flowers around Harmony fields and that more than 30 species of butterflies have been observed in them.
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