Mondelez International, Inc. | Racial Equity Audit at Mondelez International, Inc.

AGM date
Proposal number
4
Resolution details
Company ticker
MDLZ
Resolution ask
Conduct due diligence, risk or impact assessment
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Human rights & inequality
Company sector
Consumer Staples
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
Shareholders request a third-party audit analyzing adverse impacts on non-white stakeholders and communities of colour. Input from civil rights organizations, employees, and customers should be considered in determining the specific matters to be analyzed.
Supporting statement
The global racial justice movement, coupled with the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of colour, have amplified calls for institutions to address racial equity issues. Mondelēz has announced a multi-year commitment to advance racial equity through its U.S. and global diversity and inclusion initiatives.1 However, its commitments do not address potential racial equity issues in its products and services. For example, a 2019 study conducted by the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity found that Mondelēz spent USD$3.4 million on Black-targeted TV advertising and USD$9.2 million on Spanish-language TV advertising.2 The Company’s marketing strategies disproportionately impact communities of colour and increasing rates of diet-related diseases among these same communities have intensified calls for more robust and transparent responsible marketing practices.3 Additionally, Mondelēz’s current racial justice commitments lack transparency. For example, the Company indicated that it is on track 4 to meeting its 2024 goal to double the representation percentage of Black colleagues in U.S. management,5 but it does not publish any meaningful metrics demonstrating the progress made by the Company so far and the merit of its investments.6 Mondelēz is a member of the Consumer Brands Association (CBA).7 More than half of the CBA’s total contributions targeted Republican candidates, including Senator Mitch McConnell,8 who, in a recent letter to the Secretary of Education, stated that the 1619 project is debunked advocacy and should not be taught to students.9 Many racial justice advocates argue that attacks towards racial equity education fuel divisiveness and hinder progress towards racial justice.10 11 The adverse impacts of Mondelēz’s products go beyond the U.S. border. For instance, an audit published in October 2021 found that Mondelēz was one of the largest plastics polluters in the world—contributing to plastics pollution in at least 28 countries where it operates.12 Research shows that climate injustice, including plastic pollution, disproportionately burdens communities of colour.13 In 2020, the Company was even sued for its contribution to the global plastics pollution crisis.14 Racial equity issues present significant legal, financial, regulatory, and reputational business risks. Dirk Van de Put, Chairman and CEO of Mondelēz said: Mondelēz International is committed to building a more diverse, inclusive and equitable world, both socially and economically.15 A racial equity audit is an important and effective step in establishing a more transparent system of accountability. Mondelēz should take this opportunity to ensure that its business model supports the development of accountable, resilient, and inclusive economies.

How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
EFG Asset Management For While the company is taking some constructive steps to address the issue of racial inequality and injustice, it has faced some controversies related to the impact of its products causing disproportionate harm to communities of color. A third-party audit assessing the racial equity impacts of the company s policies and practices could help shareholders assess the effectiveness of Mondelez s efforts to address the adverse impacts of its business on non-white stakeholders and communities of color and its management of related risks. Therefore, shareholder support for this proposal is warranted.