Providing affordable and nutritious food for a growing global population, while in turn bringing prosperity to farmers and others along the entire supply chain, is one of the great challenges of our time. Only by meeting this challenge, we will be able to provide enough food for future generations. Mars is therefore diligently working to source more and more of its raw materials from sustainable cultivation methods, while at the same time helping to raise the incomes of farmers, improve their livelihoods and enable mutual benefits for our suppliers and in the local communities where we and our stakeholders live and do business.
Latest in 2020, we want to be in a position where we are sourcing all of our important raw materials from sustainable operations. In some areas, we expect to reach these targets even earlier. Already since the end of 2013, our supply of coffee beans is coming only from certified sources. For black tea, we are looking to be on target starting in 2015. For palm oil we reached our goal at the end of 2013, sourcing all palm oil from certified sources. The cocoa supply for our chocolate bars as well as fish used in pet food is set to be supplied completely from certified sources starting in 2020. To reach these targets we are working closely together with such organizations as the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified, Fairtrade International and the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).
We firmly believe that measures which improve the livelihoods of farmers are the essence for ensuring a sustainable supply of raw materials for our business. This is why we strongly support training farmers in methods that enable them to improve their yields in a sustainable manner. Here is where we are also actively engaged in ground-breaking research. In 2010 together with partners, Mars was able to map the genetic code for cocoa beans. This key information has been made available in a comprehensive database that is freely shared with all interested parties. The results of this research have been helping cocoa farmers across the globe to improve their seedlings and future harvests.
Progress and Success
Through these efforts, we have been able to achieve significant results in our supply chain:
At the end of 2012, nearly 90,000 tons of the cocoa beans used by Mars came from certified sources, which means more than 20 % of our entire demand. We are now sourcing the highest volume of certified cocoa of all chocolate producers, and are on course to meet our targets in 2020.
Within the framework of our ”Sustainable Cocoa Initiative”, we launched the ”Vision for Change” (V4C) in the Côte d’ Ivoire, where by 2020 we will be supporting 150,000 smallholder farmers boost their incomes, and thereby significantly improving their livelihoods. The target includes raising their yields to about 1.5 tons per hectare, in other words, a threefold gain by 2020. By continuing to open more Cocoa Development Centers, major progress is being made in delivering fertilizer throughout the country. Whereas through our growing support of Cocoa Village Centers, we are able to help train farmers on sustainable agriculture methods in so-called ’Plant Schools’.
Similar to the ”Vision for Change” concept, pilot programs have begun in the coffee-growing regions of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Tanzania and Peru. The goal there is also to raise the incomes and productivity of smallholder farmers. In addition, we are in a better position regarding the traceability and transparency of our supply chain for coffee.
In 2012, we sourced half of the palm oil we use from sustainable cultivation, and since the end of 2013 (two years earlier than planned), we sourced all palm oil from certified sources. Even though Mars uses only 0.2 percent of the world’s palm oil supply, we feel obligated to join in with other partners to find long-term solutions for this important material.
Wrigley has continuously been active in improving cultivation methods for peppermint crops in order to reduce its environmental impact, while increasing the harvests of farmers. Working in partnership with the ”Mint Industry Research Council”, a broad-based group representing mint farmers, wholesalers and producers, Wrigley has helped expand this research considerably in recent years. Harvests of peppermint have improved up to 50 % through these efforts.
Many smallholder cocoa farmers are women. The continuing development of a fair supply chain also involves gender equality. In consultation with Oxfam, Mars has committed to conducting an impact assessment on gender equality within the program ”Vision for Change”. The findings will inform our approach and contribute to our longer-term aim of developing common industry indicators for monitoring women’s economic and social wellbeing in the cocoa sector.
Find more information on mars.com.