cocoa for generations report


Mars has released their 2021 Cocoa for Generations Report and two sub-reports for the year 2021. The main report, comes this year in the form of a bite-size interactive webpage, rather than a downloadable PDF.

If anyone involved in authoring the Annual Report reads this, please can I convince you to go back to using PDF’s. I have nothing against Pagetiger for certain uses, but it’s not the appropriate tool for conveying large amounts of data. Sure, it looks pretty, but I can’t search, highlight, copy text, extract images, or do anything I normally do that helps me write about these reports. Using this approach makes reporting much more difficult. I am not a fan.

The one thing it did do well was the interactive map – see below:

The company appears to be making progress toward its goals, and I’ll let its own statement below speak about that. There were, however, sub-reports which I noticed have been largely unreported. It’s a shame because they’re interesting. I’ve added them below, just before the press release, for convenience. Fortunately, they are in PDF format, so I was able to pull together some summary information easily.

Resilience Journey Phase 1, Key Points

By sharing the results of this research, we hope to inspire others to put gender equality on the agenda and contribute to a world where women are increasingly reaching their full potential.

Mars – Resilience Journey – Phase 1
  • The Journey has three phases: 1. Discovering and generating an understanding of women’s daily lives through a gender equality lens. 2. Identifying barriers to empowerment with the help of existing and developing co-created tools. 3. Co-creating recommendations that are viable and feasible for Mars.
  • Empowerment is contingent on the interaction of three key elements: the individual, the community, and the world.
  • Institutional structures are the social arrangements of formal and informal rules and practices that govern behaviour and expressions of agency, as well as the distribution and control of resources. They comprise both formal laws and policies, as well as norms and how they are practised.
  • The article uses some unfortunately complex language that will limit how widely it can be usefully read. For example, it explains how empowering women and girls is a dynamic and transformative process of change and includes a variety of “entry points for potential interventions that challenge gender inequalities and disempowerment.” (sic)
  • The KIT Model defines multiple lenses which help to reveal the level of both egalitarianism and oppression that women and girls experience in their daily lives. In later chapters, the lenses are described and analyzed.
  • The research focused on the personal and community life of women in cocoa-growing communities, not on women in cocoa production. The local cocoa value chain was the main focus of the research.

Resilience Journey Viability – Phase 2, Key Points

Research has found that women engaged in activities that enhance cocoa yields and quality including early plant care and post-harvest fermentation and drying. However they face specific challenges and their role in family farm labor is unrecognized.

Promoting a cultural shift to ensure gender equality in the cocoa chocolate value chain is central to guaranteeing future resilience of supply and ensuring generations find the occupation. Dr Stephanie Barrientos -Mapping sustainable production in Ghanaian Cocoa, 2008 Worldwide it is estimated that women only receive 5 percent of extension services and technical training, and just 15 percent of the world’s staff providing agricultural technical training are women.

Mars Reslience Journey Viability – Phase 2
  • The difference between men and women is that women are not expected to act the same as men, but their rights, responsibilities, and opportunities are not dependent on gender. That does not mean that women and men have to become the same, but gender equality means that the different behaviours, aspirations, and needs of women and men are considered, valued, and favoured equally.
  • The project focused on three countries from the Mars cocoa supply chain – Indonesia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana. In each country, the fieldwork took place in a specific region where cocoa production is significant.
  • Hard-to-reach cocoa-growing villages and feeder towns that service cocoa’s first mile are included in the study. The surrounding areas were chosen based on the Mars supply base and partner recommendations. The intention was to make a diverse representation of people in the areas. They wanted a range of people, community size and level of services. The diversity of these sites is represented on a map in the report.
  • To preserve forests, the whole community needs to be involved, sensitized and represented. Women are involved in cocoa farming and are key users of the forests. Without modern cooking methods, tasks such as collecting wood for cooking fuel are an important driver of deforestation.
  • Traditional male leaders and women are typically excluded from community outreach as part of an effort to achieve behavioural change.
  • Women are often lost in the discussion, especially less educated ones. As a result, strategy and materials should be adapted for them to be effective.
  • The impacts of women’s roles in the cocoa farming and forest protection industries are usually downplayed. Women are targeted with alternative income-generating opportunities and as participants of VSLAs.
  • These opportunities should be combined with women’s already full schedules, and opportunity costs should be considered. If a woman is financially dependent on her partner, there may be a risk that she is more sidetracked towards marginal economic opportunities.
  • There is a need for continued land tenure reform to strengthen farmers’ land and property rights. Insecure land tenure reduces the incentives of households to invest in their land. Consequently, there are initiatives to assist cocoa farmers in securing land ownership documents. However, because of women’s exclusion from land ownership, they are often excluded from such programs.
  • In deforestation-tackling programs, for example, land documentation provides for 20% of forest loss to be reduced. In communities nearby protected areas or in ‘working landscapes,’ land tenure security is a driving factor for farmer prosperity, community empowerment and forest protection and restoration.
  • ICF is working towards gender equality by giving women land and tree tenure rights, which is expected to increase with outreach due to digital tools. Digital tools like the Women Advancing Agriculture Initiative have been created with the goal of advocating for increased gender equality.
  • The old way of thinking was that sustainability and commercial teams were separate, but now they are working together more fluidly. Most CLRMS agents are male, and they were nominated from within the supply chain. In the old way of thinking, there was no questioning the term “head of household” because it was just labelled as such, although this is not true. There is a bigger intention to identify who has decision-making power.
  • The factors that determine a person’s identity are experienced differently depending on context. Women in the first mile may face significant inequality barriers due to their lack of access to external information and potentially more conservative norms.
  • The first mile is a blindspot for the UNICEF report because 99% of children in cocoa-growing regions are related to farmers. A major cause of gender inequalities in children is related to farm families becoming more vulnerable.

Mars – Press Release

  • Mars releases Cocoa for Generations report detailing its latest progress toward creating a modern, inclusive, and sustainable supply chain 
  • Advancements include significant progress on its Women for Change program with CARE and key deforestation-free milestones 
  • The iconic treats and snacks company has sourced 61% of cocoa through its Responsible Cocoa program, on track to reach its goal of 100% by 2025 

CHICAGO, Illinois (September 22, 2022) — Mars Wrigley, a maker of chocolate for more than 100 years, today published its Cocoa for Generations progress report. The report details the company’s advancement toward creating a modern, inclusive, and sustainable cocoa supply chain, and 100% of its cocoa being responsibly sourced and traceable from farm to first point of purchase by 2025. 

Too many cocoa farmers continue to face a series of challenges from poverty to child labor and deforestation. The impacts of climate change and global crises are exacerbating existing vulnerabilities across cocoa farming communities and beyond. This is why we aim to accelerate the transformation of the cocoa supply chain so that it benefits both people and the planet. To get there, we’re working to protect children, preserve forests, and improve farmer incomes.

We are challenging ourselves and the entire sector to evolve and adopt approaches that deliver greater impact where it matters most – in cocoa farming communities across Latin America, West Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Andrew Clarke, Mars Wrigley Global President

We can’t do this work alone. The shifts and the scale to reach sustained, demonstrable improvements for cocoa farming families and their communities requires thinking and collaborating in new ways. We are working to transform the cocoa ecosystem, and while we’ve made important progress to-date, we’re not done yet.

Through our programs and in collaboration with key global partners, including industry peers, governments, development agencies, research institutions and civil society organizations, we’re sharing what works and what we learn along the way. We remain constructively discontent – relentless in our work to create a modern, inclusive, and sustainable cocoa supply chain. One where the environment is protected, human rights are respected, and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Amber Johnson, Vice-President Mars Wrigley Cocoa

The report details Mars Wrigley’s significant progress in 2021 and highlights notable achievements to date. Enabled by its Cocoa for Generations strategy, Mars Wrigley is strongly committed to accelerating the transformation of the cocoa supply chain. Mars Wrigley is backing its commitment with action. Recently, the company launched two groundbreaking programs that aim to support 14,000 smallholder farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia on a path to a sustainable living income by 2030. 

Mars Wrigley’s progress against the goals laid out in the Cocoa for Generations strategy include two notable milestones:  

  • Unlocking opportunities for women. In collaboration with CARE, the Women for Change program has reached more than 77,000 members in cocoa farming communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, through its Village Savings and Loans Association program. This effort has supported almost 58,000 women, resulting in over $7.4 million in collective savings and over $3.7 million in loans distributed. These funds have been used in a variety of ways, including cocoa farming activities; household related expenses, such as access to education, health needs, and nutritious food; and additional income-generating activities, including growing other crops like rice, and raising sheep, pigs, and other livestock. 
  • Tackling deforestation. Mars Wrigley is on its way to achieving a deforestation- and conversion-free supply chain for 100% of the cocoa it sources by 2025. 
    • One effort driving the company’s progress is farm plot polygon mapping, which traces the perimeter of a farm rather than only one GPS point and results in increased traceability from the farm to the first point of purchase; by the end of 2021, almost 80% of cocoa plots from which Mars Wrigley sources have been mapped.  
    • Through its suppliers, Mars Wrigley has distributed more than 1.9 million new non-cocoa trees in 2021, helping to increase shade and biodiversity and capture carbon. 
    • Achieving its goal of the cocoa it sources being 100% deforestation- and conversion-free will deliver an estimated 20% reduction in Mars Wrigley’s total greenhouse gas footprint, progress towards Mars, Incorporated broader ambition of achieving a 27% reduction of value chain emissions by 2025 as well as net zero emissions across the full value chain by 2050.   

To learn more about Mars Wrigley’s commitments to advancing respect for human rights, creating climate-smart solutions and providing opportunities to thrive under its holistic and human-centric Cocoa for Generations strategy, visit here

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