Over 100 sustainable food and agriculture leaders from industry, civil society, and government came together for the Sustainable Food Lab (SFL) annual meeting (link: http://sustainablefood.org/newsletter/) in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic from April 29th – May 3rd, 2012. Meeting themes strongly centered on cocoa, on impact, and on bringing the work to scale. Mars is on the advisory board of the SFL and my colleagues Kevin … Read more
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 History … Read more
Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus (CSSV) has wreaked havoc on cocoa crops throughout much of West Africa and continues to inflict serious economic and human hardship in cocoa-growing countries. As part of our research and collaborative efforts to better manage and combat this disease, Mars Chocolate and ICRAF recently held a regional workshop on CSSV in Accra, Ghana.
The weeklong workshop brought together more than 25 … Read more
Last Thursday, I was invited to speak at Secretary Clinton’s Global Impact Economy Forum, a gathering of 250 high-level investors, business executives, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, academics, and policymakers, in Washington, DC. It was a great honor to have the work of the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative highlighted by the State Department and I was pleased to represent Mars Chocolate at the event.
The forum featured comments … Read more
IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative is a trade body supported by the Dutch Government, designed to help promote sustainable trade and strengthen supply of different commodities in The Netherlands.
As the manager of the cocoa program at IDH I’m proud of our ambitious initiative to transform the cocoa sector though mainstreaming sustainability. Our program aimed primarily on professionalizing farmers, so that they can increase productivity and … Read more
The Regional Cocoa Breeders Group is a collaboration of regional Asia/Pacific cocoa breeders in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and India. The group meets to address improving planting materials for cocoa farmers. A majority of collaborators are the national cocoa research institutes or universities responsible for cocoa research in each region.
The Regional Cocoa Breeders Group first met in Singapore in 2004, where … Read more
Ecuador has a unique, rich 400-year history of cocoa farming, and great strides are currently underway to enhance production and combat diseases in this country that together with Peru, features the most diverse cocoa genetic diversity in the world.
Mars Chocolate, in partnership with the INIAP – the national research institute of Ecuador – is investing in an innovative cocoa breeding program that will help … Read more
The effort to ensure that cocoa farmers can be more productive through training – to make sure they can learn about sophisticated farming practices and then utilize them on their own farms – is essential to Mars Chocolate’s sustainability efforts. “Technology transfer” is a simple concept, but in practice, takes a lot of creative thinking and leadership from those in the industry who have embraced … Read more
It is a thick, hot winter in Côte d’Ivoire, and the gritty Harmattan winds have settled a Saharan haze over Abidjan. The exceptionally dry weather has started to harm the cocoa trees, and many are already predicting a smaller harvest later this year.
We have come from a week in Soubré, 5 hours drive or so (depending on the number of potholes you hit) from … Read more
On Sunday, February 26th, I participated in a panel on sustainable sourcing at Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Social Enterprise 2012 conference. Moderated by HBS professor Christopher Marquis, other participants in the discussion included Justin Bakule of Foundation Strategy Group, Pacita Juan of EchoStore, and Chuck Rubin of CommonSoles.
This was a chance to talk about both the business and … Read more