The rollout follows the announcement that Mars UK has become the first UK company to commit to Fairtrade’s new Cocoa Sourcing Program.

The scheme aims to help more cocoa farmers sell on Fairtrade terms and connect them with businesses that actively try and improve their livelihoods.

As well as paying Fairtrade premiums to farmers’ organisations, Mars is working in partnership with Fairtrade cocoa co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire to improve cocoa yields for the long-term by training farmers in the effective use of fertilisers and planting techniques and providing access to improved high-yielding and disease-resistant crops.

Mars UK president Blas Maquivar said: “This is an important milestone in the Mars Bar’s 83 year history. We’re proud to make one of the nation’s favourite chocolate brands and we’re now even prouder that the Fairtrade-certified cocoa we source for it is helping farmers to make their crops, and ultimately their livelihoods, even more sustainable.

“At Mars, ‘Mutuality’ is one of our guiding principles and this is a true example of sharing mutual benefits with partners throughout our supply chain”

The Fairtrade Foundations chief executive Michael Gidney added: “The winning ingredient in this partnership between Fairtrade and Mars is that it puts farmers’ own organisations in control of improving their own livelihoods and cocoa production, and ensures much-needed investment to achieve mutual goals.

“We’re delighted that Mars, one our most iconic chocolate bars, is the first to join Fairtrade’s Cocoa Program in the UK, and that this will benefit some of the most vulnerable small-scale farming communities in Cote d’Ivoire.” 

Industry approach

In 2009, Mars Inc. became the first global chocolate company to commit to a certified sustainable cocoa supply by 2020. The company spends around $30m a year on cocoa sustainability, including developing and sharing more efficient growing processes.

Mars’ chief rival, Mondelez – which owns Cadburys’ – has also taken a series of ambitious steps on sustainable cocoa, creating its own fair-trade certification system for its supply chain.

Mondelez said the system would help its existing partnership with Fairtrade by providing more detailed information on farmers and suppliers.

Brad Allen

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