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20 December 2010 | Angeline Albert
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has given Mars an award for its work with cocoa farmers in Ghana.
The confectionery giant was recognised for its work to improve farming methods and protect workers at every stage of the supply chain from fields to factories.
Clinton presented Mars with the Secretary of State’s 2010 Award for Corporate Excellence on 17 December.
Mars’ efforts included raising awareness of the need to reduce child labour, researching cultivation methods, partnering with local governments to grow and distribute high-quality plant stock, and working to establish rigorous certification standards. It was also praised for helping farmers meet these standards and sell their crops for a quality-based price.
The company was congratulated for investing resources in understanding the science of cocoa – most notably in sequencing the cocoa genome to provide the scientific community with a roadmap to increase quality and yield.
Grant Reid, president of Mars global chocolate, said: “Like other cocoa farmers around the world, Ghanaian farmers face a range of challenges, including soil depletion, ageing trees and a lack of modern agricultural training. Because of these limitations, cocoa farming is extremely difficult for many.
“For more than a decade, we’ve worked with partners across geographies and industries to professionalise and intensify the agricultural practices that are the foundation of a well-run, high-yield and profitable cocoa farm.
“By enabling farmers to create sustainable businesses, we believe we can ensure the future of cocoa while increasing incomes and securing livelihoods for tomorrow’s farmers.”
The chocolate maker has pledged to only use sustainable cocoa by 2020.