What is the scale of the commitments and how much will they cost each company?

Mars spokesperson:

While we don’t reveal specific financial details, we can tell you that we have been investing over $10 million a year in our commitment towards global cocoa sustainability.
We have been working in cocoa sustainability for 30 years and have devoted significant resources because our commitment to sustainability is serious and long-term.

Cadbury spokesperson:

Not only are we paying the Fairtrade premium for cocoa of $150 per tonne but we are also paying the Fairtrade sugar premium of $60 per tonne. Through our Cadbury Cocoa Partnership commitment, we are investing £30m over ten years in cocoa growing communities in Ghana alone, and this money will also be invested in supporting the farmers to achieve Fairtrade standards, so that we can buy their cocoa on Fairtrade terms, as well as from Kuapa Kokoo.

Bama Athreya and Tim Newman:

Cadbury’s initial commitment, according to the company’s press release, is to achieve Fair Trade certification for the Cadbury Dairy Milk bar in England and Ireland by the end of Summer 2009. Cadbury’s press release does not specify the cost of the decision to the company, but the company’s official blog states that the costs will be absorbed by the company and not lead to a price change for consumers. Cadbury has stated that it is interested in expanding the use of Fair Trade certified cocoa further in its product line in the future.

The press release from Mars states that its goal is to achieve Rainforest Alliance certification of 100,000 metric tonnes of cocoa annually for use in Mars products, but the public materials about the company’s commitments leave many questions and do not specify the cost for the company.

Michael Niemann:

The chocolate industry’s support of cocoa farmers is often difficult to assess. The industry claims to have spent millions and millions helping farmers, but the data that are available (reports by the International Cocoa Initiative and the World Cocoa Foundation) do not specify how much each company contributes.

I am particularly dubious that we will ever learn exactly how much Mars will spend since, as a privately held company, is it under no obligation to disclose such amounts. Its own website offers no insight except for vague statements.

One issue if certain, however. Mars will save at least $15 million by not choosing Fairtrade certification. That's the amount of social premium ($150/ton) they would have had to pay for the 100,000 tons that will be certified by the Rainforest Alliance instead. Since I don't know how many tons will be certified by UTZ, I can't make similar statements about the rest of its cocoa supply.

Why not one of the other ethical certification marks?

Q&A homepage