Behind the Brands Independent Evaluation on the Implementation of Gender and Cocoa Commitments

This report presents the findings of an independent evaluation carried out by Dr. Ritu Mahendru and commissioned by Oxfam’s Behind the Brands (BtB) initiative. The evaluation provides an analysis of gender assessments and action plans published by Mars, Mondelēz, and Nestlé from the top three (3) cocoa producing countries: Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Indonesia.

Overall, the companies are doing significant work to improve the gender realities of many women cocoa farmers on the ground. But much of that information goes unpublished, making it difficult to assess what progress is being made. While all three companies presented consolidated gender assessments of the three countries, those assessments did not appear to have any connections to the action plans produced, nor were they produced in the sequence expected. The evaluation inquiry suggests that the overall quality of the gender assessments has declined for two of the companies since the last independent evaluation, commissioned in 2014.

The consultant concludes that while the companies have the technical capacity to address challenges faced by female cocoa workers, an explicit focus on women’s and girls’ lived realities and voices is required in their action plans and gender assessments. There is no single solution to address vulnerability faced by women in the cocoa sector. It requires a transparent, intersectional approach relying on the principles of social inclusion and equity, unpacking gendered and racial power relations to support multiple interventions.

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