Mars Wrigley Confectionery has launched a new plan for overhauling its cocoa supply chain to support more sustainable farming.
The Cocoa for Generations plan places the interest of smallholder farmers at its centre, helps to safeguard children and forests, and creates a pathway for cocoa farmers and cocoa-growing communities to thrive.
It is backed by an investment of $1 billion over 10 years.
Mars’ global vice president, John Ament, said for nearly 40 years the company has been working to achieve sustainable cocoa production.
“While we’ve made progress, including reaching nearly 180,000 farmers with sustainability certification, we are impatient with our pace of progress and of the cocoa sector overall.
“We don’t have all the answers but our first step is to put the farmer at the center of our ambitions and actions,” said Ament.
Mars believes a step change is needed where business, civil society and government must think and act differently, and take a new approach that creates a pathway for cocoa farmers, their families, and communities to thrive.
The Cocoa for Generations project aims to have 100 per cent of the cocoa from the Responsible Cocoa program responsibly sourced globally by 2025, and it should all be traceable.
Responsible Cocoa means having systems in place to address deforestation, child labour and higher incomes for farmers.
Specifically, Mars expects farms that are part of the Responsible Cocoa program to provide satellite based GPS locations for farms that supply cocoa so that Mars has assurances that such cocoa does not come from protected forest areas.
Mars will work with suppliers and certifiers to enhance the child labour monitoring and remediation programs deployed in its Responsible Cocoa supply chain, and continue to help improve education in cocoa-growing communities, with a focus on access to and quality of schools.
In addition, Mars will work with partners to ensure the model for premiums the company pays for responsibly-produced cocoa is overhauled to ensure that farmers receive a higher share of the premium.
While this new approach is implemented, Mars will maintain its current certified cocoa levels with the Rainforest Alliance and with Fairtrade and work with both organisations as they continue to strengthen implementation to raise the bar across the cocoa sector.
A Rainforest Alliance chief of sustainable supply chains Britta Wyss Bisang said there needs to be a change on the ground for farmers, their families and forests.
“We look forward to furthering our relationship with Mars as this is well aligned with our new strategy, which puts more focus on collaboration between producers, NGO’s, companies and governments,” said Bisang.
In partnership with an initial global group of 75,000 cocoa farming families and cocoa suppliers, Mars also plans to test ways to increase productivity, income, resilience, and overall sustainability through crop and income diversification, gender programs, village and savings and loan models and farm development plans.