Mars, Nestle, ECOM join sustainable cocoa program

by Staff
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AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS — Mars, Inc., Nestle and ECOM Agroindustrial have joined the UTZ Certified — Good Inside Cocoa Program, which works to improve sustainability in mainstream cocoa production.

"We are very pleased that Mars, Nestle and ECOM have joined the program as they are important players in the cocoa industry," said Frank Pronk, executive director of UTZ Certified. "We believe that UTZ Certified’s experience in mainstream coffee certification and traceability and the experience and commitment of all the organizations involved will enable us to work towards a more sustainable cocoa sector."

Mars, Nestle and ECOM also join Cargill, Heinz Benelux, Ahold and Solidaridad in the cocoa program. The program will implement a certification system for mainstream cocoa production to enable the industry and consumers to know their cocoa is produced in a sustainable and socially responsible manner. To this end, the program will help strengthen the capacity of farmer groups and use independent certification of improved agricultural, social and environmental practices.

In addition, the cocoa program is working to develop a code of conduct for sustainable cocoa production. After pilot projects in 2008 and 2009, UTZ Certified hopes to test and implement the certification program in various cocoa producing countries with the first "Good Inside" cocoa expected to be available in the second half of 2009.

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