At Mars, we’re not just committed to our consumers, we’re focused on positively impacting people and the planet. Preserving forests is one of three areas for priority action in our Responsible Cocoa program as part of our Cocoa for Generations strategy. We want to help farmers grow more cocoa on existing farmland without expanding into new areas.
Forests provide critical habitat for plant and animal species, regulate local rainfall patterns and provide livelihoods for people around the world, including cocoa farmers, their families and communities. Protecting these communities from the effects of deforestation requires action from everyone in the cocoa supply chain. Mars is proud to be part of World Cocoa Foundation’s Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI), a partnership that aims to end deforestation and restore forest areas in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana where more than 65% of the world’s cocoa is grown.
Today we’re releasing our latest Cocoa and Forests Initiative report, showing the progress we’ve made towards our ambition to achieve a deforestation-free supply chain for all the cocoa we source by 2025.
“Farming communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are feeling the effects of deforestation and climate change,” says Kim Frankovich, VP Cocoa Sustainability. “Our report explains how rainfall was reduced in one area after tall trees were affected by logging and agricultural activity and we hear directly from farmers about the multiple benefits that replanting non-cocoa trees is bringing to them, their families and their neighbors.”
Our actions are not only making a difference for forests, they are also positively impacting the lives of cocoa famers like Denise, who is a member of a village savings and loan association (VSLA) in Côte d’Ivoire which was set up in collaboration with our supplier Touton and our technical expert partners at CARE. In addition to helping people save, VSLAs provide a means of delivering additional training within communities.
“Through the VSLA, we receive training related to preventing deforestation. We learn how the forest is here to protect us, and cocoa, from the sun and to give us rain. I understand which species need to be planted to provide shade for cocoa trees and to keep the forest safe. Today, I know the importance of trees,” says Denise.