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Published April 21, 2009 10:03 AM

Walking The Walk On Sustainability

There are good signs that that corporate sustainability is moving beyond mere PR and blue-sky vibes. It might even be true, descending at last from somewhere past Mars to an Earth-based reality.

Speaking of Mars, the candy company of the same name claims it is the "first global chocolate company to commit to fundamentally changing the way sustainable cocoa farming practices are advanced by aiming to certify" that its entire cocoa supply is produced in a sustainable manner by 2020.

It wants to achieve this through collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance, an international non-profit that works on land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior. They unveiled new goals in their continuing campaign to help cocoa farmers get on the path toward sustainability. They agreed to redouble efforts to help thousands of farmers meet holistic social and environmental standards so that their farms could earn Rainforest Alliance certification.

Near-term, Mars aims to buy enough certified cocoa so that the Galaxy chocolate bar, for example, which is highly popular in the United Kingdom, can bear the Rainforest Alliance Certified green seal of approval by early 2010.

The Rainforest Alliance accepted the company's challenge to bring enough farms up to code so that 100,000 tons of Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa would be available each year by 2020.

Let"s hope its aim is true. Mars says this is the "latest milestone in a long-running sustainability effort," and demonstrates a "real commitment" to sustainable farming.

"Mars' commitment to buying sustainable cocoa is unprecedented in size and scope, and the benefits to farmers, farmworkers, tropical environments and wildlife will be tangible," says Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance. "This initiative is an example of the tremendous impact global companies can have when they commit to sustainability."

Kind of breathless, kind of self-serving maybe, but it's a worthy effort and someone has to step up. Give 'em a chocolate bar.

The Rainforest Alliance accepted the company's challenge to bring enough farms up to code so that 100,000 tons of Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa would be available each year by 2020.

Let's hope its aim is true. Mars says this is the "latest milestone in a long-running sustainability effort," and demonstrates a "real commitment" to sustainable farming.

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"Mars' commitment to buying sustainable cocoa is unprecedented in size and scope, and the benefits to farmers, farmworkers, tropical environments and wildlife will be tangible," says Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance. "This initiative is an example of the tremendous impact global companies can have when they commit to sustainability."

Kind of breathless, kind of self-serving maybe, but it's a worthy effort and someone has to step up. Give 'em a chocolate bar.

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