In February 2015, Mars Chocolate UK became the first UK company to commit to Fairtrade’s Cocoa Sourcing Program, and now Mars Bars made from Fairtrade-certified cocoa are available across the UK and Ireland for the first time.
Fairtrade Sourcing Programmes (FSPs) were introduced by the Fairtrade Foundation this year to allow manufacturers to source single commodities such as cocoa, cotton and sugar on Fairtrade terms and then carry a new specific FSP logo if they sourced 100% of that specific Fairtrade ingredient.
Until then, organisations had to source everything that could possibly be Fairtrade to earn labelling certification.
The move follows the Fairtrade certification of Malteasers in 2012, and means the total Fairtrade premiums paid by Mars globally to cocoa co-operatives will reach over USD $2m (£1.3m) per year by 2016.
In 2009, Mars committed to certify its entire cocoa supply as being produced in a sustainable manner by 2020, and launched its own Sustainable Cocoa Initiative, focusing on research, working to promote certified sustainable practices, and transferring technology and agricultural methods to cocoa farmers through its Vision for Change project.
Through Vision of Change, Mars is working directly with Fairtrade cocoa co-operatives in Cote d’Ivoire to help farmers boost sustainable production and cocoa yields and improve local livelihoods through training farmers in the effective use of fertilisers and planting techniques and providing access to improved crops.
Blas Maquivar, president of Mars Chocolate UK, believes the new certification is “an important milestone” in the Mars Bar’s 83 year history.
“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,” he said.
Michael Gidney, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, added: “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.”