Mars, Incorporated Raises The Bar On Sustainably Grown Cocoa With Commitment To Global Certification
McLean , VA -- Mars, Incorporated is proud to be the first global chocolate company to commit to fundamentally changing the way sustainable cocoa farming practices are advanced by aiming to certify its entire cocoa supply as being produced in a sustainable manner, by 2020. The announcement is the latest milestone in the long-standing cocoa sustainability efforts of Mars, one of the world’s largest chocolate manufacturers. For 30 years, Mars has led the chocolate industry in its efforts to achieve sustainable cocoa production, investing well over $10 million in each of the past several years in a wide range of initiatives.
“As a leader in the pursuit of a sustainable global cocoa industry, Mars, Incorporated in line with its Five Principles, is working towards developing and advancing sustainable cocoa farming systems for the millions of small holder farmers involved with cocoa production. Our commitment to sustainability is serious and long-term, and this announcement is a major step towards our global commitment to purchase only cocoa that is certified as being produced in a sustainable manner,” said Paul S. Michaels, Mars CEO and president. “We are determined to put our principles into action, restoring cocoa supply for the next generation.”
The Rainforest Alliance, an international, not-for-profit organization, works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. Mars, Incorporated and the Rainforest Alliance are announcing a multi-year, multi-country collaboration. By 2020, the goal of the collaboration is to achieve Rainforest Alliance certification of 100,000 metric tonnes of cocoa annually for use in Mars products, a significant portion of Mars total cocoa requirements.
As part of the Mars global strategy to secure its supply of cocoa and improve the livelihood of farmers, Mars will be using Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa in our Galaxy Chocolate, sold in the UK and Ireland, beginning in 2010.
Tensie Whelan, president, Rainforest Alliance, said, “The move by Mars to Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa shows a real commitment to sustainable farming. When companies with the scale and heritage of Mars show this level of leadership, the results are measurable improvements in the quality of life for cocoa farmers, their families and communities, and a cleaner, greener environment for all of us.”
Cocoa certification with Rainforest Alliance is the next phase of a long term relationship. Rainforest Alliance and Mars have been sharing ideas and expertise since The First International Workshop on Sustainable Cocoa Farming in 1998. In 2008, Mars Drinks achieved Rainforest Alliance certification for three Flavia coffee offerings; and in that same year, we began the Mars Partnership for African Cocoa Communities of Tomorrow (iMPACT), through which Mars has been working with cocoa farmers alongside the Rainforest Alliance and other experienced development partners to support farm and community development in West Africa.
This new agreement links Mars even more closely to cocoa farmers, working in partnership to produce cocoa that meets the criteria set out by Rainforest Alliance and other members of the Sustainable Agriculture Network  and teaching cocoa producers new farming techniques that will significantly improve yields and increase income – benefiting their families and communities while protecting the environment.
“Rainforest Alliance certification will make a positive difference for everyone involved from cocoa farmer to chocolate consumer – we aim to improve the livelihood of farmers and their communities, protect the environment and wildlife around them, and ensure the future of our business. That’s what sustainable business is about,” said Howard-Yana Shapiro, global director of plant science and external research, Mars, Incorporated. “Importantly, Mars will be able to reward farmers directly for their efforts in production, biodiversity preservation and other aspects of sustainable farming, whether economic, social or environmental.”
Mars, Incorporated and the Rainforest Alliance have a shared vision -- a vision of a more sustainable cocoa industry characterized by productive and profitable farms that create vibrant cocoa communities and conserve their natural assets for future generations. Mars has been the industry leader in cocoa sustainability for decades, driving the agenda in three broad areas: productivity and farm profitability; social development; and ecosystem conservation. The Rainforest Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Network, a coalition of local NGOs, first developed the standard for sustainable agriculture in the early 1990s. Since then, the groups have helped more than 30,000 family farms, plantations and cooperatives in 22 tropical countries achieve the standard, which benefits farmers, farmworkers, their families and the conservation of tropical ecosystems and wildlife. Further demonstrating their commitment to embedding sustainability into their business operations, Mars is making the commitment to certify its cocoa supply chain for compliance with sustainable agriculture practices that it believes essential to the future of the cocoa and chocolate industry. Rainforest Alliance certification will comprise a key component of this new strategy.
In addition to the certification effort with the Rainforest Alliance, as a founding member of the UTZ Certified Good Inside program for cocoa, Mars will continue to work with UTZ and its partners to achieve the certification of cocoa produced using sustainable practices by small farmers in West Africa.
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