The global chocolate and confectionery manufacturer announced it is making solid progress in fulfilling its 2009 pledge to to purchase its entire cocoa supply from certified sustainable sources by 2020 – revealing that the company met its 2011 target of 10% supply from sustainable sources.
Mars said it is on track to double its sustainable sourcing in 2012, reaching over 20% supply levels by the end of the year – making the firm the largest buyer of sustainable certified cocoa in the world.
Barry Parkin, global procurement and sustainability head for Mars Chocolate said the company is ‘pleased’ to have reached “another critical milestone in our Sustainable Cocoa Initiative”
Mars said that its 2011 cocoa purchases were certified according to the Rainforest Alliance's and UTZ Certified's standards. Based on current buying arrangements, the company said it projects it will purchase nearly 90,000 tons of certified cocoa by the end of 2012.
However Mars also announced last year that it would be partnering with Fairtrade International – with purchases of Fairtrade cocoa beginning this year.
Mars said it believes certification is the best tool industry has to support as many of the world's 5 to 6 million cocoa farmers as possible.
"A successful certification program is so important to our effort because it is the most effective tool we currently have to reach millions of cocoa farmers at scale,” said Parkin.
“It took a lot of hard work from farmers, certifiers, and others along the supply chain to meet this milestone, and we are pleased to see their energy paying off."
Andy Harner global cocoa VP for Mars Chocolate said whilst certification has potential to benefit cocoa farmers globally, “to be truly meaningful, certification must bring industry together to prioritise real change at the farm level ahead of all other interests.”
Currently, six Mars products worldwide are labeled as Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified. The firm said its primary goal is to reach 100% certification by 2020, even though some products may not be explicitly labeled as such.