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 an issue. 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 Wrigley sources cocoa from a number of countries including Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Colombia, 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, consistent with Mars’ Deforestation and Land Use Change Position. Preserving forests in cocoa is also a crucial element to meet Mars’ broader ambitions to hold flat our land use, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our value chain by 27% by 2025 (vs 2015 baseline), and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across our full value chain by 2050.
As part of our goal of sourcing 100% of our cocoa through our Responsible Cocoa program by 2025, we aim to achieve a deforestation and conversion-free supply chain (as defined by the Accountability Framework Initiative (AFi)).
More specifically, we will continue to work with our suppliers, partners, and government so that
- All cocoa we source is in compliance with applicable laws
- All cocoa we source is produced on land that has not been subject to deforestation or conversion of natural ecosystems after 31 December 2013 or the date specified in a credible landscape-level framework such as the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI). Natural ecosystems1 include, but are not limited to, primary, secondary and regenerating forests; savannah; and peatland of any depth. Where validated, methodologies such as the High Conservation Value-High Carbon Stock Approach may be used to apply AFI’s definitions.
Following best practices around minimal deforestation and conversion allowance and honoring the principle of inclusion in the cocoa supply chain, minimal levels can be addressed through the monitored implementation of a corrective action plan.
- All cocoa we source is respectful of the human rights of farming families, Indigenous People and forest-dependent communities
Our Approach: Mars’ Responsible Cocoa Specification
Prior to supplying cocoa to Mars under our Responsible Cocoa programs, our suppliers align to the expectations articulated in Mars’ Supplier Code of Conduct, which describes Mars’ social, environmental and ethical expectations for suppliers.
In 2019, we introduced a Responsible Cocoa Specification which sets forth that we expect our suppliers to demonstrate they understand the risks in their supply chain, have a plan to address them, and demonstrate their action and impact.
Since then, we have been working with our suppliers to help them meet our Responsible Cocoa Specification, including, but not limited to:
- Farms that are part of our Responsible Cocoa program have their boundaries mapped with a polygon
- Farms that are part of our Responsible Cocoa program undergo a risk assessment and have in place measures to prevent non-compliance
- Farms that are part of our Responsible Cocoa program are monitored for compliance with Mars’ Responsible Cocoa Specification, with compliance verified by a third-party
- Cocoa volumes sourced through our Responsible Cocoa program are monitored to prevent the mixing with untraced cocoa from the farm to the point where suppliers take possession of the beans
Where we believe insufficient progress is being made, we reserve the right to step away from suppliers who do not meet our Responsible Cocoa Specification within specified time frames. In doing so, we would seek to minimize harm to smallholder farmers in the supplier’s value chain.
Multi-Stakeholder Collaborations to scale and sustain impact
The challenges the cocoa industry faces are complex and must be tackled collectively. We will continue to work with government, industry and civil society stakeholders on collaborative efforts to preserve forests and natural ecosystems. Together with our partners, we aim to:
- Support governments to implement and enforce forest protection policies, as our own ambitions rely on these being put into effect
- Work within credible, landscape-level frameworks where these exist and take additional steps to support enhanced agroforestry, reforestation or forest restoration and community engagement
An illustration of Mars’ collaborative efforts is our membership in the World Cocoa Foundation's Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) established in 2018 and being 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 and which are major origins for cocoa sourced by Mars.
In 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 targets, activities and progress achieved so far, in addition to investments made 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 our suppliers and technical expert organizations to pursue quality implementation of our CFI country action plans.