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28 May 2014 | Will Green
A dozen of the world’s largest chocolate companies have signed a joint agreement to improve sustainability in key cocoa-producing countries, starting with Ivory Coast and Ghana.
The 12, which include Mars, Hershey, Mondelez International and Nestlé, have pledged to work with the Ivory Coast and Ghanaian governments and other key institutions to train farmers, provide materials and promote community development.
The work is expected to improve the lives and productivity of 200,000 farmers in Ivory Coast and 100,000 farmers in Ghana, the two countries responsible for around 55 per cent of the world's cocoa supply.
The scheme, known as CocoaAction, is part of the work of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), and there are plans to roll it out to other producer countries.
Barry Parkin, WCF chairman and chief sustainability officer at Mars, said: "This agreement represents one of the most significant steps the sector is taking to make cocoa sustainable. This alignment of objectives, commitment of resources, and sharing of best practices is the type of transformative initiative that will really help farmers become more productive and secure the future of cocoa.
“While it represents a new way for the industry to work with origin countries, it also builds on the strong existing relationships with them. We are honoured and proud to move these relationships to a significant next step.”
The other companies that have so far signed up are ADM, Armajaro, Barry Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate Company, Cargill, Ecom, Ferrero and Olam International.