Some big changes are ahead for Mars Wrigley Confectionery. The company, which produces some of the most popular treats in America, is revamping its cocoa supply to help combat poverty, child labor and deforestation. Mars hopes its new strategy will be fully in place by the year 2025 and fix what it referred to as the “broken” cocoa industry.
“The cocoa supply chain as it works today is broken,” said John Ament, the vice president of the company, in an interview with Reuters.
Critics have targeted the cocoa industry this year, because it negatively affects farmers and has contributed to environmental issues like deforestation. Mars Wrigley hopes to change the industry by investing in a new strategy — one that will ensure that all its cocoa is purchased from responsible growers. Although the plan is great for the environment and sustainability, Mars expects to spend around $1 billion to get it done.
This is not the first time Mars has initiated a sustainability plan. In previous years, the company promised to buy only certified cocoa. This goal was supposed to be met by 2020, but Mars now says that certification is not enough.
The new strategy means that the company will be able to trace all the cocoa it purchases back to the original source, and a third party will verify that the growers are not contributing to deforestation. Mars will also pay more for cocoa that meets its new standards. Not only will this help fight poverty and child labor among cocoa producers, but it also gives farmers more incentive to practice sustainability. Under the old certification plan, farmers were not paid more for producing sustainable cocoa, which is why the strategy came under fire in the first place.
Mars also plans to educate farmers on better growing practices and give them better access to funding. The company hopes this will lead to greater sustainability and increased production.
Image via Mars