Mars Chocolate to purchase nearly 90,000 tonnes of certified cocoa this year

Mars Chocolate, one of the world's leading chocolate manufacturers, has announced that it has made progress towards fulfilling its 2009 pledge to purchase its entire cocoa supply from certified sustainable sources by 2020.

Mars met its 2011 goal of purchasing 10 percent of its total cocoa supply as certified sustainable, and in 2012 it will exceed its original target of 20 percent. The achievement this year will make it the largest user of certified cocoa in the world, with projected purchases of nearly 90,000 tonnes of certified cocoa.

Mars' Sustainable Cocoa Initiative aims to increase productivity, strengthen communities, and encourage better farmer incomes. The company believes that certification is the best tool to create a sustainable industry for cocoa farmers worldwide. The initiative is one of the largest in the chocolate industry.

"We are pleased to have reached another critical milestone in our Sustainable Cocoa Initiative," said Barry Parkin, Global Procurement and Sustainability Head for Mars Chocolate. "A successful certification program is so important to our effort because it is the most effective tool we currently have to reach millions of cocoa farmers at scale. It took a lot of hard work from farmers, certifiers, and others along the supply chain to meet this milestone, and we are pleased to see their energy paying off."

In 2011, Mars' cocoa purchases were certified according to the Rainforest Alliance's and UTZ Certified's standards. Last year, Mars announced it will be partnering with Fairtrade International, and purchases of Fairtrade cocoa began in 2012. Currently, six Mars products worldwide are labeled through the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified.

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Mars Chocolate is focusing on three distinct, critical elements with the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative: cocoa science research, including mapping the cocoa genome in conjunction with IBM and the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the transfer of technology and agricultural methods to encourage productivity among cocoa farmers, especially through the company's Vision for Change program in Cote d'Ivoire; and third-party certification.

For more information on the company's effort supporting cocoa sustainability, visit www.mars.com/cocoasustainability.

You can also read about the sustainability team's ongoing initiatives at the blog www.cocoasustainability.com.

See also:
Rainforest Alliance - www.rainforest-alliance.org

UTZ Certified - www.utzcertified.org

Fairtrade International - www.fairtrade.net

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