Cocoa and Forests Action Plan
Forests serve as important reservoirs of carbon, and the clearance of primary forest cover causes serious increases in greenhouse gas emissions. Forests also provide habitat for half of all known plant and animal species, regulate local rainfall patterns and provide livelihoods for millions of people in rural communities.
More than five million farmers in West Africa, Southeast Asia and the Americas grow cocoa, often in areas where deforestation is a problem. Most are smallholders working modest plots of land planted with aging, unproductive cocoa trees that generate little income. There is an urgent need to help farmers grow more cocoa on existing farmland, without encroaching on remaining forests.
Mars sources cocoa from a number of countries including Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines and Vietnam, with the majority coming from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia.
At Mars Wrigley, we are committed to creating a more modern, inclusive, and sustainable cocoa supply chain for future generations. Since the launch of our Cocoa for Generations strategy in 2018, and as part of our Responsible Cocoa program, which sets out for suppliers our requirements for the cocoa we source, we have been accelerating our efforts to source cocoa from farms that have measures in place aimed at protecting children, preserving forests and improving farmer income.
This document explains our approach to preserving forests within our cocoa supply chain, and as part of our Mars wide ambition to hold flat our land use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our value chain by 27% by 2025, from 2015 levels and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across our full value chain by 2050.
Ambition & Supply Chain Solutions
Mars is a member of the World Cocoa Foundation's Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) established in 2018 and a signatory to the CFI commitments to halt deforestation and restore forest in the global cocoa supply chain, with an initial focus on Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, where more than 65% of cocoa is grown.
Our aim is to achieve a deforestation-free supply chain by 2025 as defined by the Accountability Framework Initiative. Where credible, landscape-level frameworks such as CFI exist and are backed by other critical actors, we may take additional steps to support enhanced agroforestry, reforestation or forest restoration.
The challenges the cocoa industry faces are complex and must be tackled collectively. We firmly support the frameworks for action introduced by the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana as part of the CFI.
In full alignment with these frameworks, we have developed company action plans for the two countries and are proud to share our progress: Mars Action Plans. The action plans set out our actions, targets, progress achieved so far and our investments between 2019 and 2022 within the three CFI pillars of Forest Protection and Restoration, Sustainable Production and Farmers’ Livelihoods, and Community Engagement and Social Inclusion. We are working in partnership with all our suppliers and technical expert organizations to pursue quality implementation of our CFI country action plans.
Following Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, we will develop country action plans for additional countries we source cocoa from based on forest risk assessments.
Each country’s action plan will describe our ambition on how we will work with our suppliers, partners and government to meet the following:
- All cocoa we source in compliance with all applicable laws
- All cocoa we source produced on land that has not been subject to deforestation after 31 December 2013 or the date specified in a credible landscape-level framework such as CFI. Following best practices around minimal deforestation allowance and honoring the principle of inclusion in the cocoa supply chain, minimal deforestation can be addressed through the monitored implementation of a corrective action plan.
- Work within credible, landscape-level frameworks where these exist
- Support existing human rights commitments including respect for cocoa farmer’s land rights, free prior and informed consent, and the rights of indigenous and forest-dependent people for cocoa plantation developments on land they own legally, communally or by custom
- Where appropriate, support improvements to existing cocoa farms through the provision of shade trees
- Any further actions to support enhanced agroforestry, reforestation or forest restoration
- Traceability from farm to the point where suppliers take possession of the beans such that mixing with untraced cocoa is prevented, globally by 2025, with some countries achieving this earlier. We support the development of national traceability frameworks to enable this process where relevant.
- Compliance with the Mars, Incorporated Supplier Code of Conduct: This sets our expectations in the areas of child labor, forced labor, discrimination, compensation and benefits, working hours, freedom of association and right to collective bargaining, health and safety, the environment and ethical business practices.
- Collaboration: We will continue to work with government, industry and civil society stakeholders on collaborative efforts to preserve forests. In particular, we will support governments to implement and enforce forest protection policies, as our own ambitions rely on these being put into effect.
- Verification: We will work to redefine cocoa production standards with people and planet at their core, and to introduce measures to verify that the cocoa we source complies with our approach and Cocoa for Generations strategy. Verification may include assurance against enhanced certification standards or other forms of third-party assessment. Our country action plans will define verification measures that reflect the local situation.
- Supply Chain transparency: We believe it is important to drive greater supply chain traceability and transparency and will annually disclose our traceability progress.
We are seeking to build an efficient and highly transparent supply chain that supports our goal of preventing deforestation. In 2019 we reported how much of the cocoa we source was traceable to a country of origin, to a farmer group within that country, and to the individual farms supplying that group. For full transparency, we also published a list of the tier-1 suppliers we sourced cocoa from. Download our Mars Cocoa Supply Chain Disclosure – Tier 1 2020 Update here.
In 2020, we began publicly sharing an interactive map showing the names, locations and total number of farmers in each farmer group from which we sourced cocoa as part of our Responsible Cocoa program. Because the supply chain changes throughout the year, we are committed to update this map annually as we advance toward our goal of a 100% deforestation-free supply chain for cocoa we source by 2025.
While the figures demonstrate our progress, we can only truly understand the real impact of our efforts by hearing first-hand from the cocoa farming communities. That's why our interactive map also includes Farmer Voices, an opportunity to discover the individual stories of men and women in the cocoa growing villages and communities that we depend on, like Lucas in Côte d’Ivoire, Evy in Indonesia and Nadia in Ecuador.
Interactive Map of Farmer Groups that are part of Mars’ Responsible Cocoa Program
This information will be regularly updated after the end of each crop year.
We will work with governments and tier-1 cocoa suppliers to implement our action plans, while providing clear guidelines and support. Where we believe no further progress is possible, we reserve the right to step away from suppliers who do not meet our Responsible Cocoa specifications within the required time frame. In doing so, we would seek to minimize harm to smallholder farmers in the supplier’s value chain where possible. Where necessary, we will seek support from expert partners as we work towards our ambition.