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Cocoa for Generations

Responsible Cocoa Today

We’re focused on three main areas that put cocoa farmers, farming communities and the environment at the center of our efforts: Protect ChildrenPreserve Forests, and Improve Farmer Incomes.

We aim to obtain our cocoa from sources that are independently verified to conform to our initial Responsible Cocoa Specification and for these to be traceable by 2025.

Our Responsible Cocoa Specification builds on existing certification requirements from Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance and requires additional elements including the specific locations and boundaries for all farms, child labor monitoring and remediation systems in at risk areas, and an overhaul of premiums so that farmers receive a higher share.

We will continue to capture feedback on our Responsible Cocoa Specification from suppliers, implementation partners, certification programs and other cocoa stakeholders with the intent to incorporate new learnings in a future iteration.

School Daze

Protect children

Our goal by 2025: Through our suppliers, to implement robust child labor and forced labor monitoring and remediation systems for 100% of at-risk families in our cocoa supply chains.

Mars condemns the use of forced and hazardous child labor and is committed to working with governments, suppliers, farming communities and others to eradicate it from cocoa supply chains. Hazardous child labor is a reality in today’s cocoa supply chain, but through implementing monitoring and remediation systems, instances can be dramatically reduced.

Early indications show that implementing robust child labor monitoring and remediation systems (CLMRS) has proven to have the potential to meaningfully reduce the risks, prevalence and severity of child labor, and it’s a model we expect all suppliers to have in place in West Africa by 2025. Expanding CLMRS coverage in our West African origins is our focus in the near-term. The balance of the reductions will require community-based investments that help tackle root causes, including investments in Women’s Social and Economic Empowerment, Increases Access to Quality Education, and Increasing Income. We will seek to ensure 100% of at-risk families in our cocoa supply chains are covered by child labor and forced labor monitoring and remediation systems by 2025. We anticipate that in order to achieve our Cocoa for Generation ambition by 2025, at least 180,000 cocoa farming households will need to be reached with an estimated 540,000 children in our four West African origins (Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Nigeria).  We will also take action in other origin countries as appropriate.  

For the latest update on our work to advance respect for human rights, we invite you to read our Respecting Human Rights in the Cocoa Supply Chain Report. The report features the progress we’ve made, what we are learning and where more effort and collaboration is needed to achieve our 2025 human rights goals.   


Preserve forests


Our goal by 2025: All cocoa we source will be traceable and deforestation-free. *

We want to help farmers grow more cocoa on existing farmland without further expansion of land use. To stamp out deforestation, precision is critical. That’s one of the reasons why our focus is on traceability and requiring our suppliers to use polygon mapping to trace farm boundaries. Polygon mapping provides a more accurate picture of the farm’s location because it shows the boundaries of the entire farm, rather than just one GPS location point. This approach supports the protection of forests while further refining yield estimates and coaching farmers on profitable investments.

In 2018, as part of our Responsible Cocoa pillar, we set the goal for our cocoa to be traceable from the farm to the first point of purchase. 

In 2019, for the first time, 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 farmer group. For full transparency, we also annually publish a list of the tier-1 suppliers we source cocoa from. Download our Mars Cocoa Supply Chain Disclosure – Tier 1 2020 Update here.

In 2020, went a step further by 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. Since our 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.  From now on, 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.

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 Cocoa and Forests Initiative. 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 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 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. 

Learn more about our approach to cocoa and forests.  

*As defined by the Accountability Framework Initiative

Cocoa Farmer

Improve farmer income

Our goal by 2025: Income is increased for cocoa farming families.

We need a system that ensures a higher amount of the money paid through premiums reaches the farmers. Transparency is key to making this a reality.

At present, the amount of premium farmers receive varies in different regions. We support improving transparency and increasing what farmers receive. We are collecting information from our suppliers on the level of transparency they require from farmer groups. We’ve also engaged certifiers to discuss their requirements on how premiums are distributed between farmer groups and farmers. Cash and in-kind incentives, such as planting materials and fertilizers, are a way to provide farmers with more income for implementing responsible practices. We are working with farmers to get their views on the changes needed, including the mechanisms (cash and in-kind) they would support.

As part of our Responsible Cocoa Specification, suppliers need to show that premium payments are separated from the overall price farmers are paid for their cocoa. In addition, we support supplier efforts to test and scale digital payments to farmers’ mobile phones or online wallets. To make this happen additional mobile banking and cellular infrastructure is needed.

The challenges faced by the cocoa sector are too great for any one company to tackle alone. It’s imperative we engage and collaborate with stakeholders across the cocoa sector – governments, suppliers, farming communities, multi-stakeholder organizations, NGOs and peers – to find solutions and accelerate change.

We work with many organizations to support cocoa growing communities, including certifiers such as Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade, NGOs such as Verité, CARE International, and foundations including the Jacobs Foundation. Learn more about our farmer income position statement.  

Visit the lab

Farmer Income Lab

We engage with Oxfam on ways to improve farmer incomes through our Farmer Income Lab, our think- do-tank created by Mars to ask the right questions, create solutions and inspire action to build global supply chains that work for farmers and for business. This lab has a steering committee comprised of external experts from a number of industry, academic and third-party organizations.


Cocoa for Generations 2020 report

Mars Takes Action on Sustainable Cocoa Production

Mars has been buying cocoa to make our chocolate brands for over a century, putting this integral ingredient at the heart of our company’s heritage. For four decades we have partnered with others to work towards our goal of more sustainable cocoa production. We know that a truly sustainable cocoa sector is essential if we are to continue to provide chocolate for future generations of chocolate lovers. Our ambition is to create an environmentally sustainable supply chain where everyone, especially cocoa farmers, has the opportunity to thrive and human rights are respected.

We are committed to taking action to drive transformational change that makes a lasting impact across the entire cocoa supply chain, unlocking opportunities for farmers, their families and their communities. We believe that through Cocoa for Generations and our wider environmental stewardship, we have a chance to do that, and are pleased to share our progress.

2020 Cocoa for Generations Report

Track our progress toward more sustainable cocoa production. Download our PDF report.

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