Mondelēz International announced the expansion of the Harmony program, the company’s sustainable wheat sourcing initiative, to cover 100% of its biscuit brands in the European Union by 2022, up from 60% of the company’s biscuit production in the EU last year.
“European consumers increasingly equate high-quality products with sustainable production. They’re aware of the impact of their food choices on the environment and have high expectations of manufacturers to take their share of responsibility,” said Hubert Weber, executive vice president and president Europe. “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.”
The Harmony program involves 1,700 farmers, 13 millers and 21 cooperatives across six markets (Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland and Spain), producing 177,000 tons of wheat for the company’s biscuit brands in 2017. That represents about three-quarters of Mondelēz International’s production of biscuits in Western Europe or 60% across EU for brands such as LU, Oro, LiGA and Fontaneda. Through the program expansion, annual production of wheat under the sustainable conditions set out by the Harmony charter would increase to over 280,000 tons by 2022. This would cover the volume of wheat needed to produce the company’s entire European biscuit portfolio, adding brands such as belVita, Milka Biscuits and Barni.
Underpinned by a charter of sustainable practices, the program seeks to: minimize the usage of pesticides and fertilizers by encouraging the selection of resilient wheat varieties and through crop rotation and care for soil; avoid unnecessary treatments; reduce carbon emissions, especially through the reduction of fertilizer use preserve the quality of water and preserve local biodiversity.
To date, the program has led to a 20% reduction in pesticide use in Harmony fields, between 2009 and 2016, the company says.