Chocolate companies are the largest purchaser of chocolate in the world. And Mars Company has announced that by the year 2020 they will use only sustainable chocolate in their candy bars. This means that they will only buy cocoa from supplies that meet certain environmental, labor and production standards. Currently the company buys its cocoa from producers growing in West Africa. The harsh conditions make the beans from this region susceptible to price changes.
The candy bars that are made with this sustainable cocoa will have certified-sustainable seal from the nonprofit group Rainforest Alliance in New York.
The Washington Post reported that the initiative will cost tens of millions of dollars over the next decade, a Mars spokeswoman said the company does not intend to charge more for its candy. Marcia Mogelonsky, a senior analyst with Mintel, a market research firm said that the switch will appeal the European society that is conscious of the environmental and social ramification using sustainable cocoa will bring.
Tex Dworkin of the Global Exchange Fair Trade Online Store guest authored a piece on TreeHugger explained the link between child slavery and cocoa production and chocolate. In a more recent post regarding Mars’ decision to use sustainable cocoa TreeHugger explained the environmental impact conventional cocoa has. Cocoa production has lead to deforestation. Once the forest is cut down to make room for the crops large quantities of pesticides are applied to the crop to increase yields.
“The chocolate industry, like the coffee sector, is quickly waking up to the fact that they need to address their supply chain all the way back to the farmers,” Chris Wille, chief of sustainable agriculture for the Rainforest Alliance, told the Post, “because if not, they may not have all the raw ingredients . . . they need.” : Via Washington Post
Prior to Mars’ announcement, Cadbury chocolate has made a similar announcement. They have decided to start using a seal from the Fairtrade Foundation for its Dairy Milk chocolate bar by the end of the summer.
Now if only Hersheys could be convinced to follow their European counter parts and make a similar move to only use sustainable cocoa.