Today (5th October) marks an important milestone in the Mars Bar’s 83 year history as the first bars featuring Fairtrade-certified cocoa roll out of the factory and into shops.
After taking Maltesers Fairtrade in 2012, Mars Chocolate UK has extended its commitment to sustainable sourcing, to become the first UK company to commit to Fairtrade’s new Cocoa Sourcing Programme.
As part of this initiative, Mars and Fairtrade are taking a new approach to boost sustainable cocoa production and enhance the livelihoods of cocoa farmers, their families and cocoa-growing communities. Alongside paying Fairtrade Premiums to farmers’ organisations, Mars is working in partnership with Fairtrade cocoa co-operatives on the ground in Côte d’Ivoire who are building their own farmer-led projects to improve cocoa yields for the long-term, through measures such as training farmers in the effective use of fertilisers and planting techniques and providing access to improved high yielding and disease resistant crops.
By 2016, the total Fairtrade premiums paid by Mars globally to cocoa cooperatives in West Africa will reach over US$2m per year.
Blas Maquivar, President, Mars Chocolate UK, commented: “We’re proud to make one of the nation’s favourite chocolate brands and we’re now even prouder that the Fairtrade-certified cocoa we source for it is helping farmers to make their crops, and ultimately their livelihoods, even more sustainable. At Mars, ‘Mutuality’ is one of our guiding principles and this is a true example of sharing mutual benefits with partners throughout our supply chain”
Michael Gidney, Chief Executive of The Fairtrade Foundation, said: “The winning ingredient in this partnership between Fairtrade and Mars is that it puts farmers’ own organisations in control of improving their own livelihoods and cocoa production, and ensures much-needed investment to achieve mutual goals. We’re delighted that Mars, one our most iconic chocolate bars, is the first to join Fairtrade’s Cocoa Program in the UK, and that this will benefit some of the most vulnerable small-scale farming communities in Cote d’Ivoire.”