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At the rate Mars is going, certified sustainable cocoa may very well become a given.

Mars Chocolate is on track to becoming the largest user of certified cocoa in the world, as part of the company’s 2009 promise to purchase its entire cocoa supply from certified sustainable sources by 2020.

Mars projects it will exceed its original target of purchasing 20% of its total cocoa supply as certified sustainable in 2012, and will buy nearly 90,000 tons of certified cocoa — making it the largest user of certified cocoa in the world.

The company met last year’s goal of purchasing 10% as part of its Sustainable Cocoa Initiative, an effort to increase sustainability, productivity and cocoa farmer incomes.

“We are pleased to have reached another critical milestone in our Sustainable Cocoa Initiative,” says Barry Parkin, global procurement and sustainability head at Mars. “A successful certification program is so important to our effort because it is the most effective tool we currently have to reach millions of cocoa farmers at scale.”

Mars Chocolate currently works with three leading certification organizations: the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade International, and UTZ Certified.


 “Certification has great potential to benefit hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of cocoa farmers,” says Andy Harner, v.p. of global cocoa at Mars. “However, to be truly meaningful, certification must bring industry together to prioritize real change at the farm level ahead of all other interests.”