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Promoting Sustainable Livelihoods in Ghana

Company: Cadbury plc
Sector: Food & Beverages
Headquarters: United Kingdom
Partners: K uapa Kokoo Social Development Fund, WaterAid, Earthwatch
Partnership location: Ghana


Cocoa is grown and harvested under the tropical forest canopy near the equator, often miles from existing infrastructure. Living and working in this environment poses a number of economic, social, environmental, and labour challenges for farmers, their families and communities. Also, with cocoa trees taking upwards of seven years to become productive, farmers are concerned about their livelihoods. An additional challenge is that cocoa farmers often live far from a drinkable water source and women and children can spend many hours every day collecting water; time which could have been spent earning an income or getting an education.

To secure a steady supply of cocoa, it is important for Cadbury to help farmers improve cocoa production and maintain decent livelihoods to support families and villages.

Actions Taken

Cadbury has teamed up with local and international NGOs to tackle these challenges.

The company started its water well building programme in 2001. The programme is financed by company support and considerable employee fundraising. NGO partners in the programme are the local Kuapa Kokoo Social Development Fund (a farmers’ co-operative), and WaterAid (an international charity).

Cadbury is a member of the Sustainable Tree Crops Programme, an international initiative partnering with NGOs “to improve the economic and social well-being of smallholders and the environmental sustainability of tree crop farms.” Cadbury supports Farmer Field Schools, helping cocoa farmers gain knowledge and skills to maintain high quality cocoa, and build their understanding of working within the cocoa trading systems.

Since 2005, Cadbury Schweppes has partnered with Earthwatch and the Ghana Nature Conservation Research Centre to examine the production of cocoa in biologically diverse environments, encourages new farming methods to support the production of quality cocoa beans in more ecologically balanced ways, and helps re-establish farming and enhance biodiversity on abandoned farms. Seventy Cadbury employees will have volunteered to help collect ecological data in Ghana by the end of the three years of research.


By the end of 2006, Cadbury and its partners had built 375 wells, providing access to clean water for almost 50,000 people. A community with a water well not only benefits from easy access to clean water and a subsequent improvement in sanitation and hygiene; more water also means crops can be watered which means more food and better nutrition. Less time is spent traveling to obtain water and more time is available for farming, other jobs and education, which leads to an all-round improvement in a community’s prosperity.

Cadbury’s focus on sustainable farming practices helps to protect Ghana’s intrinsic biodiversity. The company also realizes that sustainability includes the social dimension. Their focus on education and labour standards contributes to better livelihoods for cocoa farmers.

Protecting the people that grow the cocoa that Cadbury buys has to be a priority – these are the people that provide a prized ingredient. Their well-being translates into well-being for the company. Supporting and encouraging farmers helps to ensure continuity of the cocoa supply chain.

(Source: An Inspirational Guide to implementing the United Nations Global Compact, UNGCO 2007).

(Last Update: 02 January 2009)