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Mars goes UTZ certified in Netherlands to kick off sustainable cocoa pledge

By Oliver Nieburg , 24-Oct-2011

Mars chocolate bars in the Netherlands are to carry UTZ certified marks from Feburary 2012 as Mars sets targets for its cocoa to be fully sustainable worldwide by 2020.

Sustainable cocoa means that it is produced using humanitarian agricultural techniques that are environmentally friendly and offer cocoa farmers a better price.

The Netherlands will be the first country where Mars bars will be UTZ-certified.

Quality sustainable supply

Stephanie Deheer, public relations manager for UTZ Certified, told ConfectioneryNews.com that Mars’ move to UTZ would prove sound business for the company.

“Their volumes will be from certified producers so their quality will be maintained and their supply will be more sustainable.”

“Also you know where your cocoa comes from so can give guarantees to the consumers eating the Mars bar.”

Cost-efficient

Deheer would not be drawn on the production cost of uncertified cocoa compared to certified, but said certification could be cost efficient for Mars.

“We don’t charge marketing costs for the logo. We are not a brand ourselves. We endorse their brands so the entire supply chain costs are kept low.”

Timo Hoogeboom, general manager for Mars Nederland said: “As one of the biggest cocoa consumers in the world, we see it as our responsibility to use certified sustainable cocoa. We are happy and proud to be able to offer every MARS bar in the Netherlands with sustainable cocoa in 2012 and see this as an important milestone in our ambition to make all our bars certified sustainable by 2020.”

Industry moving towards sustainable cocoa

Deheer explained that Mars was not the only large confectioner to go UTZ certified. Nestle has many brands certified in the Netherlands and its KitKat brand went UTZ certified in Australia earlier this year.

Deheer said: “We are working together for a sustainable market but we have a long way to go. We still need to train the farmers which will take time. But everyone really sees the need to switch and it’s a good sign that Mars will have sustainable cocoa in the Netherlands.”

The entire industry In the Netherlands, where UTZ Certified is based, has signed a declaration of intent use fully sustainable cocoa by 2025.

According to UTZ Certfied, certified production currently stands at around 81,000 tonnes though that number is increasing as large companies continue to take up the logo.

Deheer said UTZ certified should work with Fair Trade, another organisation pushing for sustainable cocoa, to achieve its aims.

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