Since the launch of its Cocoa for Generations sustainable strategy in 2018, the confectionery giant says it has accelerated its efforts to source cocoa from farms that are putting in place measures aimed at protecting children, preserving forests and improving farmer income as part of its Responsible Cocoa program.
The program sets supplier requirements for the cocoa it sources. “Knowing the farmer groups and farms that supply the cocoa we source is fundamental to these efforts — especially our aim to achieve a deforestation-free supply chain for cocoa we source by 2025,” said Mars.
In a move similar to Barry Callebaut, by making the interactive map public, Mars discloses its data on Tier-2 cocoa farmer groups, the source for its cocoa.
The company says it aims to make all its cocoa source be traceable from the farmer to the first point of purchase (the farmer organization, cooperative, or licensed buying company its suppliers buy from) by 2025.
Mars’ Responsible Cocoa Program Progress
Traceable to country of origin via:
Tier 1 direct suppliers 1 95% 95%
Traceable to Tier 2 - farmer group 2 40% 51%
Traceable to Tier 3 - farm level 3 24% 33%
Data calculated on crop year for West Africa / calendar year for South-East Asia and Latin America
“In 2019, for the first time, we reported how much of the cocoa we source was traceable to a country of origin, to a farmer group within that country, and to the individual farms supplying that farmer group. For full transparency, we also published a list of the tier-1 suppliers we source cocoa from,” it said.
Knowing each farm’s location and boundary, and which farmer organization the farmer sells their cocoa to, will help Mars to identify where its cocoa comes from.
Deforestation-free supply chain
“This is essential to delivering on our ambition of a deforestation-free supply chain for cocoa we source. As part of our Responsible Cocoa program, we expect our suppliers to go above and beyond providing a typical, single Global Positioning System (GPS) point on a map. GPS polygons allow tracing of the entire boundary of each farm to verify the cocoa bought is grown within those boundaries and not in any nearby protected forests,” it says.
While admitting it’s a huge task to trace more than 350,000 farm plots in 13 countries, often in places with no roads, formal property boundaries or online land records, Mars said it can use the data that includes boundary maps, risk assessments and a country’s deforestation action plans to guide further actions.
John Ament, global cocoa vice president at Mars Wrigley, said: “Sharing where and who we source our cocoa from gives consumers, customers, governments and other stakeholders as well as our associates the confidence we are tracking where our cocoa comes from and the conditions under which it is grown. By doing so, our chocolate products continue to live up to our Mars Wrigley Purpose to Create Better Moments To Make The World Smile."