Sustainability

Mars calls for more shared accountability across cocoa sector as it delivers new human rights report

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mars said it is 'empowering women socially and economically by doubling the Village Savings and Loans Associations program membership in 2020'. Pic Mars Wrigley
Mars said it is 'empowering women socially and economically by doubling the Village Savings and Loans Associations program membership in 2020'. Pic Mars Wrigley

Related tags: Mars incorporated, Child labor

Mars Wrigley, part of Mars, Incorporated, has published its cocoa human rights report with renewed efforts to address root causes of child and forced labour in the cocoa sector.

‘Respecting Human Rights in the Cocoa Supply Chain’ includes updates on the company’s progress toward the target of 100% of its cocoa being sourced under its Responsible Cocoa programme by 2025, and it also ‘contextualises Mars Wrigley’s human rights goals within the cocoa sector’.

Cocoa for Generations

This year has been declared by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. Mars Wrigley said it has committed $1bn to its Cocoa for Generations strategy, focused on protecting children, preserving forests and improving farmer income.

Mars Wrigley launched its Protecting Children Action Plan in 2020 to tackle root causes of this challenge head-on. Advances, learnings and insights against the four-point approach to identifying, preventing and mitigating human rights risks with a focus on child labour and forced labour in its extended cocoa supply chain are included in its latest report.

Notable progress includes:

  • Expanding coverage of child labour monitoring and remediation systems to nearly 70% (from 51% in 2019) of volumes sourced in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, across 58,000 households.
  • Championing the Living Income Differential (LID), Mars Wrigley was the first chocolate company to support the LID fee enacted by the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. It has consistently purchased its cocoa with the LID to support cocoa farmers, and has been vocal in calling on others to do the same.
  • Empowering women socially and economically by doubling the Village Savings and Loans Associations programme membership in 2020, reaching more than 24,000 members, plus a $10M commitment to CARE to reach more than 60,000 by 2025; and with new research with KIT Royal Tropical Institute on gender, including a unique empathy study grounded in the voices of women and girls in cocoa communities and their views on actions to address gender inequality and disempowerment.
  • Promoting quality education and early childhood development and nutrition with an investment of $3.3M to support the Jacobs Foundation’s creation of two new public-private education funding facilities.

Andrew Clarke, Mars Wrigley Global President, said he sees this cocoa human rights report as a critical tool for opening more dialogue, sharpening focus and invoking collective effort to transform the cocoa supply chain.

Publishing our experience – sharing what we believe works and what doesn’t – is essential to confront the realities of the cocoa supply chain. While we take pride in our individual efforts, sustainable cocoa farming cannot exist when farmers’ rights are not respected and when they are not paid fairly for their labour across the entirety of the sector​.

To achieve meaningful impact that enables cocoa farmers to thrive, public-private partnerships coupled with appropriate due diligence legislation where needed will be essential. Together these enablers can help improve farmer income and advance respect for human rights in cocoa growing communities.​”

  • Mars Wrigley’s complete progress report, Respecting Human Rights in the Cocoa Supply Chain, can be viewed here​.

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