Mars UK joins Fairtrade's Cocoa Sourcing Program
It may help consumers work, rest and play but the iconic Mars bar is also now helping to improve the lives of West African cocoa farmers.
From today, the first bars featuring Fairtrade-certified cocoa roll out of the factory and into shops and also mark the company's move to commit to Fairtrade’s new Cocoa Sourcing Program.
The Fairtrade Cocoa Program, which was launched in partnership with Mars Chocolate Germany for its TWIX brand there last year, specifically aims to deliver more opportunities for cocoa farmers to sell on Fairtrade terms and connect them with businesses that actively support efforts to improve farmer livelihoods.
Alongside paying Fairtrade Premiums to farmers’ organisations, Mars is working in partnership with Fairtrade cocoa co-operatives on the ground in Côte d’Ivoire who are building their own farmer-led projects to improve cocoa yields for the long-term, through measures such as training farmers in the effective use of fertilisers and planting techniques and providing access to improved high yielding and disease resistant crops.
By 2016, the total Fairtrade premiums paid by Mars globally to cocoa cooperatives in West Africa will reach over US$2m per year.
Globally, Mars’ Sustainable Cocoa Initiative focuses on cocoa science research, transferring technology and agricultural methods to cocoa farmers to increase their productivity and working to promote certified sustainable practices. In 2009, Mars, Inc. was the first global chocolate company to commit to certify its entire cocoa supply as being produced in a sustainable manner by 2020.
Blas Maquivar, president, Mars Chocolate UK, commented: “At Mars, ‘Mutuality’ is one of our guiding principles and this is a true example of sharing mutual benefits with partners throughout our supply chain."