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Mars Set to Become the World’s Largest User of Certified Chocolate

Mars Chocolate is on track to become the largest user of certified cocoa on the planet.

The company made a commitment in 2009 to purchase its entire cocoa supply from certified sustainable sources by 2020, and so far it is exceeding its milestone goals leading up to that ultimate objective.

Mars projects it will surpass its original target of purchasing 20% of its total cocoa supply as certified sustainable this year, and will buy nearly 90,000 tons of certified cocoa in 2012 — 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.”

Certification has the potential to benefit hundreds of thousands of cocoa farmers—perhaps millions—according to Andy Harper, 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,” Harper says.

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