Mars announces progress on women’s empowerment and forest protection in latest cocoa report

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

A female cocoa farmer from one of the farms in Cote d'Ivoire where Mars sources its cocoa. Pic: Mars Wrigley
A female cocoa farmer from one of the farms in Cote d'Ivoire where Mars sources its cocoa. Pic: Mars Wrigley

Related tags mars wrigley Cocoa Côte d'ivoire Ghana Ivory coast

Mars Wrigley has claimed significant progress on its Women for Change programme with CARE and key deforestation-free milestones with the release this month of its Cocoa for Generations sustainability report.

The maker of chocolate for more than 100 years said the report details the company’s advancement toward creating a modern, inclusive, and sustainable cocoa supply chain, and 100% of its cocoa being responsibly sourced and traceable from farm to first point of purchase by 2025.

Andrew Clarke, Mars Wrigley Global President, said: “Too many cocoa farmers continue to face a series of challenges from poverty to child labour and deforestation. The impacts of climate change and global crises are exacerbating existing vulnerabilities across cocoa farming communities and beyond.

This is why we aim to accelerate the transformation of the cocoa supply chain so that it benefits both people and the planet. To get there, we’re working to protect children, preserve forests, and improve farmer incomes. We are challenging ourselves and the entire sector to evolve and adopt approaches that deliver greater impact where it matters most – in cocoa farming communities across Latin America, West Africa, and Southeast Asia​.”

In collaboration with CARE, the Women for Change programme has reached more than 77,000 members in cocoa farming communities in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, through its Village Savings and Loans Association programme.

‘This effort has supported almost 58,000 women, resulting in over $7.4 million in collective savings and over $3.7 million in loans distributed. These funds have been used in a variety of ways, including cocoa farming activities; household related expenses, such as access to education, health needs, and nutritious food; and additional income-generating activities, including growing other crops like rice, and raising sheep, pigs, and other livestock,’ Mars said in its report.

The company also claimed it is on its way to achieving a deforestation- and conversion-free supply chain for 100% of the cocoa it sources by 2025.

One effort driving the company’s progress is farm plot polygon mapping, which traces the perimeter of a farm rather than only one GPS point and results in increased traceability from the farm to the first point of purchase; by the end of 2021, almost 80% of cocoa plots from which Mars Wrigley sources have been mapped. 

Through its suppliers, Mars Wrigley said it has distributed more than 1.9 million new non-cocoa trees in 2021, helping to increase shade and biodiversity and capture carbon.

Achieving its goal of the cocoa it sources being 100% deforestation- and conversion-free will deliver an estimated 20% reduction in Mars Wrigley’s total greenhouse gas footprint, progress towards Mars, Incorporated broader ambition of achieving a 27% reduction of value chain emissions by 2025 as well as net zero emissions across the full value chain by 2050.  

Amber Johnson, Vice-President Mars Wrigley Cocoa, said: “We can’t do this work alone. The shifts and the scale to reach sustained, demonstrable improvements for cocoa farming families and their communities requires thinking and collaborating in new ways. We are working to transform the cocoa ecosystem, and while we’ve made important progress to date, we’re not done yet.

“Through our programs and in collaboration with key global partners, including industry peers, governments, development agencies, research institutions and civil society organisations, we’re sharing what works and what we learn along the way. We remain constructively discontent – relentless in our work to create a modern, inclusive, and sustainable cocoa supply chain. One where the environment is protected, human rights are respected, and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.”

  • To learn more of Mars’ Cocoa for Generations strategy, visit here​. 

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