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Mars, Nestle Promise Ethical Cocoa Supply

Global confectioners Mars and Nestle have joined a sustainable cocoa programme, which aims to establish a traceability system for all farmers in the Ivory Coast.

The Good Inside Cocoa Programme, established by the Dutch non-profit organisation Utz Certified, aims to eliminate environmental and humanitarian problems such as child labour, deforestation and low salaries.

As consumer and regulatory concern over working conditions in Africa increases, manufacturers can no longer ignore the responsibility they have towards some of the poorest workers in the world.

However, Utz Certified project manager Daan de Vries told that the programme will have practical implications as well.

"We will consider issues such as market supply, health and safety - all the factors necessary for cocoa trading," he said.

On a purely business level, Western firms are indeed conscious that protecting supply from the Ivory Cost and Ghana - which together account for 65 per cent of the world's net cocoa - is vital in order to keep margins high.

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post Feb 8 2008, 10:21 AM

The idea of establishing accountability in the production chain for cocoa is very welcome, but I'm sorry to say that we ought to be careful to avoid viewing this model as the path to sustainable production generally. The problem is that the greater the regulation, the greater the profit in piracy. The real solution is the same now as it's always been: strong local marketplaces - true local marketplaces - where local prosperity empowers communites to protect human and other natural resources from exploitation by the global marketplace. This is more than merely local production - everything is produced locally somewhere - and it's more than merely understanding that local consumption is key because folks will generally opt for the lowest price regardless of source, which points to the actual solution: It's about making it generaly more profitable to buy locally produced goods.

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kevin parcell