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Filming “For the Love of Chocolate”

I like to think of myself as unmovable by all sorts of hype and media events, but I’m now feeling the excitement of our next step in our campaign “ For the love of chocolate,” which we have developed together with our partners at Solidaridad.

It all started in early September with National Geographic, who wanted to make a documentary around the threat of future … Read more

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Mars exports first certified sustainable cocoa butter and powder from Sulawesi

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 … Read more

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Vision for Change progress – First Community Development Plans Validated

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 Development … Read more

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2012 Cocoa Barometer Calls the Industry to Action on Cocoa Sustainability

The Cocoa Barometer 2012 is out and it provides yet another snap shot into the urgency we must have as a sector to establish sustainable cocoa as the standard.  The barometer is a joint initiative by several NGOs, and it provides an overview of the current sustainability efforts within the industry.  This year’s barometer looked at initiatives in West Africa.

The barometer identifies some of … Read more

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Meeting Princess Máxima

After weeks of travel, I only started checking my agenda a few days prior to a scheduled group meeting with Princess Máxima, the wife of Crown Prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands, at a congress organized by the Sustainable Trade Initiative.  I was honored to have the opportunity to meet her but I assumed that it would be no more than a hand shake and … Read more

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Mondelez International Makes Significant Commitment to Cocoa Sustainability

Last week while at the World Cocoa Conference in Abidjan, we were pleased to hear that Mondelez International will be committing US $400 million to cocoa sustainability over the next 10 years, of which US $100 million will be invested in Côte d’Ivoire.

After hearing Tim Cofer’s remarks at the conference as well, we welcome this move, as it will take everyone in the industry … Read more

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From Côte d’Ivoire – World Cocoa Conference and More

Last week, we had the pleasure of attending the World Cocoa Conference in Abidjan, where Barry Parkin, our Global Procurement and Sustainability Head, gave a keynote address to the main session.

While at the conference, we also had the opportunity to meet with several of our industry peers, and at the end of the week, we signed the “Abidjan Declaration” to confirm our support for … Read more

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For the Love of Chocolate

As our contingency of Dutch, Ivorian, and Americans waited to see the Ashanti King, drums pounded and bright colors flashed, and delegations passed by to pay their respects to the king.  We were on a mission to create a film called “For the  Love of Chocolate.” But not just a love of that creamy, sweet chocolate bar that we’re all familiar with in western world, … Read more

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Two Years of Progress in Petit Bondoukou

Traveling to cocoa growing communities around the world has long been an important part of my job, and though it involves a lot of time in airplanes throughout the year, there’s just no substitute for seeing our projects in person and meeting the people involved.

On Sunday, November 18, I met with the chief and other leaders of Petit Bondoukou, one of the first communities … Read more

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Making chocolate an affordable luxury; private/public partnerships in agroforestry benefiting cocoa farmers

Please see below a press release on the Vision for Change and our partnership with ICRAF and national partners, which was released earlier this week:

Abidjan – 20 November 2012 For over a hundred years, cocoa has been the black gold of Western Africa, despite a political trading past that has often darkened the pages of history. Now, a partnership between two unlikely organizations promises … Read more

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