Much of the world’s chocolate comes from West Africa, where the cacao plant thrives due to ideal climate in the rainforest. Unfortunately, those conditions may be in danger due to rising temperatures. Therefore, Mars is helping to fund efforts by University of California-Berkeley scientists to research and develop a new method of growing the crop.
According to these scientists, as Earth’s temperatures rise, cacao farmers will be forced to move to higher elevations where conditions would not be ideal for crop growth. University of California-Berkeley is using CRISPR technology to modify the cacao plant’s DNA. The genetically modified plant would be able to survive drier and hotter climates, allowing cacao farmers to stay in place.
“We're trying to go all in here. There are obviously commitments the world is leaning into but, frankly, we don't think we're getting there fast enough collectively,” says Barry Parkin, Mars' chief sustainability officer.