Author Archives: Alastair Child

Alastair Child

Alastair Child is Cocoa Sustainability Director, Certification and Community Development at Mars Global Chocolate. Child runs a team across sustainability, sourcing, public affairs and communications, to ensure cocoa certification evolves towards mainstream scale across the industry by 2020 and delivers impact on farmers’ livelihoods and sustainability of production. In addition, Child is responsible for Community Development within Mars Sustainable Cocoa Initiative, working to attract the next generation of educated cocoa farmers through education, protective environments for children and raising the overall quality of life in cocoa growing areas.

Rainforest Alliance president challenges cocoa sector to be leaders

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to see Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance, speak at the International Supply Management Congress in Amsterdam.  She was one of three keynote speakers at the event, and it was gratifying to hear her discuss in a positive way the work that Mars is doing on cocoa sustainability.

At the Congress, Tensie quoted Mars’s thinking

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Vision for Change progress – First Community Development Plans Validated

V4C community photo 3

In the past few weeks, Jeff Morgan and I visited Cote d’Ivoire to review the progress of the community development plans of the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative’s Vision for Change program. We were encouraged to see the first development plans validated by a local government lead committee, the Validation Committee.

The vision of the program is that communities, supported by ANADER (National Agency for Rural

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Mars Global Chocolate and Le Conseil du Café et Cacao Sign MoU on Cocoa Sustainability Initiative

mars 2

Mars Chocolate and Le Conseil du Café et Cacao recently signed a Letter of Agreement (LOI) in Cote d’Ivoire that will directly benefit many communities that depend on cocoa for their livelihoods, through co-investment from Mars and Conseil Café Cacao in education, health, water, and protective environments for children, and through the development of a partnership platform approach that will, we hope, be attractive

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Positive Changes to the Fairtrade Standard for Cocoa for Small Producer Organizations

Grafted Tree - Kragui Demo Plot - for NACS Booth

Here at Mars, we are encouraged to see the new changes to the Fairtrade Standard for Cocoa for Small Producer Organizations. At its core, our partnership with Fairtrade International shares the principle of putting farmers first. With regard to cocoa, yield and quality improvement offer significant income-generating opportunities for farmers, while at the same time protecting their livelihoods in the long term.

For too

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CAOBISCO Conference: Creating Uncommon Collaborations

Alastair Child speaks at CAOBISCO Panel

The annual CAOBISCO conference held in Brussels earlier this year was another opportunity for the industry and others to come together and share ideas and best practices for sustainability going forward.  I have the opportunity to share the Mars commitment to cocoa farmers, farming communities, and to industry collaboration, along with Kraft Foods, FairTrade, the International Labor Organization, the European Trade Commissioner, and many

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Dispatches from the ISEAL Alliance 2012 Conference

ISEAL conference photo

Almost 200 members and supporters of the ISEAL Alliance came together at a conference in Bonn, Germany last week.  Founded in 2002, ISEAL has provided 10 years of leadership in standards and certification.

Representing Mars Chocolate, I sat on a great Impact data panel with representatives from international supermarket retailer Ahold, UTZ Certified, and Marine Stewardship Council.  We discussed that despite the challenges on

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Congratulations to Rainforest Alliance for 25 Years of Promoting Sustainability

A moment to wish the folks at Rainforest Alliance congratulations on the 25th anniversary of their organization, which was feted at a gala held on May 16th in New York City.  Having won their “Sustainable Standard Setter” award last year, we were honored to co-chair the event with our supply chain partners ECOM.  The gala was held at the Museum of Natural

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More Cocoa to be Certified

The folks at The Hershey Company are taking a step in the right direction with their announcement today that they are expanding their cocoa programs.  The company announced that they will be working with The Rainforest Alliance, who is one of Mars Chocolate’s certifying partners as well.

Why is this news important?  Because it means that more farmers will benefit from certification, which will

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Africa Fairtrade Convention

Performers at the Africa Fairtrade Conference

Efforts to increase collaboration between cocoa producers, international traders, partner organizations and policy makers took a major step forward during the second annual Africa Fairtrade Conventionin Accra, Ghana on November 23rd through 26th.  The convention, which has grown substantially in just a year under the leadership of Fairtrade Africa Chairman Yorokamu Abainenamar and Executive Director Michael Nkonu, provided an opportunity

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Mars Chocolate Announces Fairtrade International Agreement

Mars and Fairtrade


The following post is authored by Alastair Child, Mars Global Chocolate Cocoa Sustainability Director.

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

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