Mars kicks off Fairtrade Fortnight with chocolate pledge

Mars Chocolate UK and The Fairtrade Foundation announced late on Friday that they are extending their global cocoa partnership with a commitment to source Fairtrade certified cocoa for all Mars Bars in the UK and Ireland by autumn 2015.

The announcement came just before the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, which kicks off today (February 23).

Mars claims it is the first UK company to announce a commitment under the new Fairtrade Cocoa Sourcing Programme, which specifically aims to deliver more opportunities for cocoa farmers to sell on Fairtrade terms and connect them with businesses that actively support efforts to improve farmer livelihoods.

In 2009, Mars was the first global chocolate company to commit to certify its entire cocoa supply as being produced in a sustainable manner by 2020. In the UK, this new commitment from the Mars Bar brand builds on the success of Mars’ partnership with Fairtrade on Maltesers, announced in 2011.

Blas Maquivar, President, Mars Chocolate UK, said: “This is a crucial next step in our global commitment to certify that 100% of our cocoa has been produced in a sustainable manner by 2020 and it means that all three of our top UK chocolate brands now source certified cocoa, supporting farmers to improve productivity and yields and ultimately leading to improved income and better quality of life for farmers, their families and their communities. This partnership brings us one step closer to sustainable, ethically sourced cocoa becoming the norm in the chocolate industry.”

Mike Gidney, Chief Executive of The Fairtrade Foundation, said: “Cocoa farmers constantly tell us they’re anxious to sell more of their crops on Fairtrade terms, and we know how it can start to change their lives when they receive fairer rewards for their efforts. That’s why we launched the Fairtrade Cocoa Sourcing Programme, and to have Mars leading the way is fantastic news, both here in the UK and on the ground with cocoa cooperatives in Cote d’Ivoire.”

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