Mars Chocolate UK has unveiled the first Mars Bars featuring the Fairtrade mark as part of the firm’s commitment to Fairtrade’s Cocoa Sourcing Program. This follows Maltesers’ move to Fairtrade certification in 2012.
Blas Maquivar, president, Mars Chocolate UK, said: “This is an important milestone in the Mars Bar’s 83 year history. 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.”
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.
Globally, Mars’ Sustainable Cocoa Initiative focuses on cocoa science research, transferring technology and agricultural methods to cocoa farmers to increase their productivity and working to promote certified sustainable practices. In 2009, Mars, Inc. was the first global chocolate company to commit to certify its entire cocoa supply as being produced in a sustainable manner by 2020.
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.”