Mars Launches New Cocoa Sustainability Strategy

Mars Wrigley Confectionery logo

Mars Wrigley Confectionery has a new plan for overhauling its cocoa supply chain. Called “Cocoa for Generations,” the plan places the interest of the smallholder farmer at its center, helps to safeguard children and forests and creates a pathway for cocoa farmers and cocoa-growing communities to thrive, according to Mars Wrigley. The company is backing Cocoa for Generations with an investment of $1 billion over 10 years, incremental to the Sustainable in a Generation Plan investment Mars announced last year.

“For nearly 40 years we’ve been working to achieve sustainable cocoa production,” said John Ament, global VP – cocoa, Mars Wrigley Confectionery. “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. We plan to inspire others and work together to ensure Cocoa for Generations.”

The plan consists of two pillars: 

Responsible Cocoa Today

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Through its first pillar, Mars aims to have 100 percent of its cocoa from the Responsible Cocoa program responsibly sourced globally and traceable by 2025.

Specifically, Mars expects farms that are part of its Responsible Cocoa program to provide satellite-based GPS locations for farms that supply its cocoa so that it has assurances that such cocoa does not come from protected forest areas. Mars will work with suppliers and certifiers to enhance the child labor monitoring and remediation programs (CLMRS) 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 that 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 organizations as they continue to strengthen implementation to raise the bar across the cocoa sector.

Sustainable Cocoa Tomorrow 

Through its second pillar, Mars hopes to demonstrate that a step-change in farmer income and livelihoods is possible. In partnership with an initial global group of 75,000 cocoa farming families and cocoa suppliers, Mars 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.

In parallel, Mars says it will work with the industry, governments and other civil-society partners to seek shared solutions and mutually beneficial results for cocoa farming families. Mars will continue to collaborate pre-competitively with its peers and with suppliers to accelerate shared learning via industry forums including the World Cocoa Foundation and its CocoaAction platform and the International Cocoa Initiative.


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About The Author

A word nerd, grocery geek and three-year member of The Shelby Report. She is a proud new homeowner and a great lover of avocado toast.