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Usman Siraje: Curiosity Leads to Prosperity

This post is co-authored by Akhmad Anshari

Usman Siraje is very different from other cocoa farmers we’ve met in Indonesia.

In 1970, Usman started his first business, a clothes workshop, which supported his family until 1984. After 14 years, as the business went bad, Usman closed the workshop and bought 3Ha land at Buntu Batu Village in Luwu District, and started his new career as … Read more

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Monitoring & Evaluation: A New Frontier in Cocoa Sustainability

We want to make sure the work we are doing is having its intended outcomes of tripling farmer productivity in thriving cocoa communities so that we can do our part to contribute to a long-lasting, positive impact in cocoa communities; that is where monitoring and evaluation becomes an important part of the work we do.

It’s easy to talk about the long term impact that … Read more

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Mars Video Vignette: Education in Soubré

There’s much work to be done to improve the education system in Côte d’Ivoire. In the video vignette below, cocoa farmer Ambofe Eric Didier discusses some of the obstacles that make it difficult for families to provide their kids with a proper education. Schools are far away, requiring kids to trek several kilometers multiple times a day to and from school, and they lack basic … Read more

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Mars Offers Recommendations at International Workshop on Cocoa Certification

Everyone agrees that achieving sustainability is necessary for the long-term viability of the cocoa and chocolate sector. Successful sustainability initiatives – like organizations – are the ones that are able to improve and quickly respond to new challenges. The best way to improve is to listen to concerns and challenges from a wide variety of stakeholders and we were happy to see this in action … Read more

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Interview with Smilja Lambert: Unstoppable Passion for Cocoa

Smilja Lambert is the Cocoa Sustainability Research Manager for the Asia Pacific region. She is responsible for the Mars cocoa sustainability research projects in this region, focusing mainly in Indonesia, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Philippines.

Smilja Lambert, Cocoa Sustainability Research Manager

I got a chance to travel with Smilja in early April, and she is probably the idea travel companion you could ever imagine: … Read more

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Mars Video Vignette: Labor and Profit

In this video vignette, Kouamé Kouassi gives us an inside look at how labor is divided and wages managed on his farm at Petit Bouaké. On a cocoa farm, everything is done collaboratively; it has to be in order to maximize efficiency.

You’ll hear Kouamé discuss what it’s like to own a farm where three of his brothers also work and how he compensates his … Read more

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Mars is Named Best Private Company by Ethical Corporation

This week, Barry Parkin accepted a Responsible Business Award on behalf of Mars – the Best Private Company – given to us by the folks at Ethical Corporation.  Ethical Corporation provided information on sustainability for NGOs, think-tanks, academia, governments and service providers as well as to industry.  You can read more about the awards, and why Mars was selected, here.

We are particularly gratified … Read more

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Sourcemap and Mars Chocolate: Connecting Cocoa Communities

At Sourcemap, we make software that connects people across supply chains. That’s why we partnered with Mars Chocolate on Vision for Change (V4C), a sweeping initiative to improve cocoa productivity and farmer livelihoods in Côte d’Ivoire.  V4C is one element of the company’s Sustainable Cocoa Initiative, which is helping to secure the future of cocoa production by prioritizing the needs of farmers.


V4C … Read more

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Mars Chocolate and the International Labor Organization agree to Support the Child Monitoring Labor System of Côte d’Ivoire

In a first for Mars Chocolate, the company has entered into a public/private agreement with the International Labour Organization to introduce a Child Labor Monitoring System (CLMS) in select communities in the Soubré region of Côte d’Ivoire.  While Mars previously has supported the work of ILO and its division that specifically works on child labor, International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) through … Read more

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Genetic Markers Identified Along the Cocoa Genome

When we – along with our partners from the US Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Research Service, Indiana University, Hudson-Alpha Institute and IBM – mapped the cocoa genome in 2010, we knew that was the first step to using cocoa science research to create higher producing cocoa plants that did not sacrifice quality or flavor.  Mars has always had an interest in the scientific study … Read more

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