Parkin will remind those at the meeting that Mars Wrigley has championed the LID with suppliers, chocolate manufacturers and retailers, pushed for financial transparency of its full payment to farmers and control of supply to prevent cocoa from moving into protected areas.
“As a result, Mars Wrigley mandated that the LID is required in all its contracts for cocoa from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. For the 20/21 crop season, we are sourcing over 165,000 MT through our Responsible Cocoa programme in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, supporting cocoa farmers with payments for the LID in excess of $65m,” he said in a letter seen by ConfectioneryNews.
Mars Wrigley’s public support of the LID is a timely intervention as falling cocoa farmgate prices as put pressure on the two West African countries to slash prices in order to compete after some buyers are reportedly seeking to avoid paying the LID.
A company spokesperson told this publication that Mars Wrigley is committed to creating ‘a more modern, inclusive and sustainable cocoa supply chain for the next generations’.
Mars Wrigley became the first chocolate company in 2019, to publicly support the LID, a $400 per tonne levy set by the governments of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana to help alleviate farmer poverty.
“Through our Cocoa for Generations strategy, ongoing support for the LID, and disclosure of our progress publicly, we remain focused on the critical issues that need to be addressed for cocoa farming families to thrive and be sustainable – most urgently, through support of the LID and supply chain transparency,” the spokesperson said.
“Most recently we have engaged in the current bilateral trade discussions between the EU and the governments of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire on sustainable cocoa, and will continue to be vocal in calling on others to do the same, particularly in the context of Covid.”
Mars Wrigley said that for cocoa farmers to thrive, it will encourage all buyers of cocoa products and chocolate manufacturers to support the LID, invest in sustainability programmes to protect children and forests, and purchase responsible and sustainable cocoa.
The company said its Responsible Cocoa programme includes a call for levelling the playing field through appropriate legislation, standards, and industry coalitions so that other companies will do the same.
In Mars Wrigley’s Cocoa for Generations Report, Human Rights Report, and Cocoa and Forests Initiative 2020 annual report, it said it provides an update on its supply chain transparency efforts and the significant strides it is making.