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Mars beats two-year certified sustainable cocoa sourcing goals

By Adrian Bishop - 01 Jun 2012 15:27:50 GMT
Mars beats two-year certified sustainable cocoa sourcing goals

Chocolate bar image; Credit: © Shutterstock

Chocolate giant Mars says it will exceed its initial targets of sourcing certified sustainable cocoa. It met its 2011 goal of buying 10% of its cocoa from certified sustainable sellers. Now, it says it will beat its second-year 20% target and is set to buy almost 90,000 metric tons of certified cocoa this year.

This means that Mars is the world's biggest single buyer of certified cocoa and it says industry certification could benefit millions of cocoa farmers.

Barry Parkin, Head of Global Procurement and Sustainability for Mars Chocolate, says, "A successful certification program is so important to our effort because it is the most effective tool we currently have to reach millions of cocoa farmers at scale. It took a lot of hard work from farmers, certifiers, and others along the supply chain to meet this milestone, and we are pleased to see their energy paying off."

Mars promised three years ago that by 2020 it would buy all its cocoa from certified sustainable sources.

Certification is the best way to help as many of the world's six million cocoa farmers by providing them with practical support and organisational skills, Mars believes.

It is thought that by 2020 the demand for cocoa will be one million tons higher than total availability.

The company drew up the Mars' Sustainable Cocoa Initiative to help boost productivity and farmer's earnings and bring communities together. This year, it began buying Fairtrade cocoa.

The Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified certified that the cocoa that Mars bought came from sustainable sources and six of its products carry their marks.

All Mars products by 2020 will use certified cocoa, even if the labels do not say so.

Mars is particularly concentrating on three elements:

  • research into cocoa science, working with computer giants IBM U.S. Department of Agriculture to map the cocoa genome

  • using technology in agriculture to increase the productivity of cocoa farmers, especially through Mars' Vision for Change program in the Ivory Coast

  • third-party certification in conjunction with the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade International, and UTZ Certified

    Mars' Global Cocoa Vice President, Andy Harner, says certification could help millions of cocoa farmers and bring real change on cocoa farms.

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    Topics: Agriculture / Sustainability