Mars Wrigley intensifies the battle for production sustainability
The announcement by Mars Wrigley Confectionery on its decision for a $1 billion package of support to assist African cocoa growing communities is a definite step in the right direction.
While the policy is not entirely a new move for the global group – which last year launched its Sustainable within a Generation initiative, it at least acknowledges the pace of change for improving the lives of those at the forefront of the industry has not been quick enough.
Transforming words or thoughts into deeds often proves a stumbling block for organisations or companies in any field of business, yet there’s a sense that sustainability within the supply chain is not merely just another talking point.
Clearly, instituting major structural reform in core cocoa producing markets such as Ghana and the Ivory Coast is not something that can happen overnight, but at least Mars has put a significant marker down as for its continued sharp focus on the issue.
However, the extremely concerning fact that over two million young people are still being used as child labour in those countries, is something that needs urgent direct action to take place.
Anyone who attended the World Cocoa Conference earlier this year in Berlin would have seen the clear intent from both Ghana and Ivory Coast’s governments to work in partnership in tackling such pressing issues, but without major support from corporations such as Mars, then this is will remain a huge problem.
The work being put forward by Mars comes in the wake of projects from other key companies including Mondelēz International with its Cocoa Life scheme, and Barry Callebaut’s Forever Chocolate initiative, which have set eradicating child labour and below poverty-line wages for as key goals, which will hopefully make a significant difference.
While hundreds of thousands of people have in fact already been helped over the past few years under these combined schemes, the need for sustained action in conjunction with governments and other agencies on the ground in Africa, is more apparent than ever.
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