On Wednesday, September 19, Mars Wrigley Confectionery announced its new strategy for overhauling its cocoa supply chain. One of the world’s largest buyers of cocoa and a leading chocolate maker, the company looks to make a significant impact with the move.

Called Cocoa for Generations, the plan will uphold the interests of the smallholder farmers, help to safeguard children and forests, and create a pathway for cocoa farmers and cocoa-growing communities to thrive.

“For nearly 40 years we've been working to achieve sustainable cocoa production,” says John Ament, Global Vice President – Cocoa, Mars Wrigley Confectionery. “While we've made progress, including reaching nearly 180,000 farmers with sustainability certification, we are impatient with our pace of progress and of the cocoa sector overall. We don't have all the answers but our first step is to put the farmer at the center of our ambitions and actions. We plan to inspire others and work together to ensure Cocoa for Generations.”

Cocoa for Generations consists of two pillars, Responsible Cocoa Today and Sustainable Cocoa Tomorrow. The first pillar aims to have 100 percent of its cocoa from the Responsible Cocoa program responsibly sourced globally and traceable by 2025. Responsible Cocoa means having systems in place to address deforestation, child labor and higher incomes for farmers. This new approach will be implemented as Mars maintains its current certified cocoa levels with the Rainforest Alliance and with Fairtrade and works with both organizations as they continue to strengthen implementation to raise the bar across the cocoa sector.

As part of the second pillar, Mars will test ways to increase productivity, income, resilience, and overall sustainability through crop and income diversification, gender programs, village and savings and loan models and farm development plans. The company will do all of this in partnership with an initial global group of 75,000 cocoa farming families and cocoa suppliers.

“We can all agree there needs to be a change on the ground for farmers, their families and forests,” says Britta Wyss Bisang, Chief of Sustainable Supply Chains for the Rainforest Alliance. “We commend Mars for deepening their commitment to cocoa producers, and for recognizing that step-change in action on the ground is needed.  We look forward to furthering our relationship with Mars as this is well aligned with our new strategy, which puts more focus on collaboration between producers, NGO's, companies and governments.”