A few weeks ago, we celebrated the start of export shipments of certified sustainable cocoa butter and cocoa powder from our cocoa bean processing factory in Makassar, South Sulawesi in Indonesia.
It marks a new phase of our sustainability efforts in that country. In addition to expanding our cocoa grinding factory and doubling the size of our office in Makassar, we are also investing more in cocoa bean buying and processing in the cocoa growing areas and establishing a new cocoa research centre in East Luwu to support ongoing cocoa sustainability initiatives.
Mars first began cocoa grinding operations in Makassar in 1996, and has been a leader in promoting cocoa sustainability – and putting farmers first – in Indonesia and beyond. We believe that only by putting farmers first to increase their economic and social situation with respect for the environment can we ensure that there will be enough of the right quality cocoa to meet the world’s need for cocoa in the future. Certification is one way that we are working together with certifying agencies, supply chain partners and cocoa farmers to ensure their long term economic, social and environmental sustainability. We have also been working directly with cocoa farmers to improve productivity, quality and long term sustainability for a very long time. Our new investments in the cocoa areas will significantly add to this effort.
The new Mars Regional Cocoa Center in East Luwu, along with the new investments in the cocoa growing areas with improved post-harvest processing, will add additional momentum and capabilities to the already well-established Mars cocoa sustainability effort. By almost doubling the size of our Makassar cocoa processing factory we are once again clearly demonstrating our commitment to Indonesia and the Indonesian cocoa industry, while directly adding more jobs in the local community. All expansion projects are planned to be completed by the end of 2013.
The Mars cocoa sustainability team was instrumental in bringing the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified, two of the worlds’ largest certifying agencies, together with the Indonesian Government and cocoa industry stakeholders to develop the Indonesian National Indicators for cocoa sustainability, which were officially launched by the Minister of Agriculture in March 2010.
We’re looking forward to ensuring that cocoa farmers in Indonesia and beyond have the tools they need to increase production and improve their quality of life.