Today’s announcement of Mars Chocolate’s first Fairtrade product marks an important milestone in our mission to deliver better tools and opportunities to farmers so they can grow more productive crops and build vibrant, sustainable livelihoods.
More than two years in the making, our agreement with Fairtrade International is part of our overall commitment to use 100 percent sustainable cocoa by 2020. With this agreement, our first Fairtrade product, Maltesers® will appear in stores in the UK and Ireland in 2012 – a move that will impact the lives of thousands of farmers. It will also contribute more than a million dollars each year in Fairtrade Premium funds for cocoa farmers to invest in their individual farms and communities.
As part of our partnership with Fairtrade we will explore enhanced training and technical support for farmers – for instance, providing training and services for better agricultural practices, improved planting material and replenishing soil fertility – so that they can achieve higher incomes and a better quality of life for their families.
While significant progress has been made, much work remains to be done to achieve the most impact for the 5 to 6 million farmers worldwide who cultivate cocoa. In addition to Fairtrade International, our other two other key partners in this effort are the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified. Our goal is to work with the entire industry to ensure that certification and sustainability programs focus on farmers benefits above all else.
As Fairtrade International CEO Rob Cameron said, “the needs are still so great. That’s why working with Mars is so important – together we have the potential to have real measureable impact on the ground.”