Never before have consumers been so attuned to the story behind the foods they eat. But the journey from the food system we have to the food system we want could be measured in decades. This applies in particular to raw materials. When we know where a raw material comes from, we can implement effective and impactful sustainability practices.
But since no two commodities are exactly alike, neither should our methods and parameters for tracking and monitoring them. For this reason, Mars believes that the European Commission’s recent deforestation legislation could be strengthened by replacing the use of geo-coordinates with the more precise and accurate practice of GPS polygon mapping. It is crucial that the proposed traceability rules for the cocoa sector reflect the specifics of the cocoa industry.
In November 2021, the European Commission presented theirs Proposal for a deforestation regulation, which aims to minimize the EU’s contribution to deforestation and forest degradation, as well as greenhouse gas and biodiversity loss. The proposed legislation includes comprehensive provisions on deforestation, which Mars has publicly advocated since 2019. These guidelines will be critical to positively transforming the sectors within their scope – including the cocoa and chocolate sector – as we move forward.
As the world’s largest importer and consumer of cocoa, the EU has the ability and responsibility to drive meaningful change in the cocoa industry through strict supply chain protocols. Under the proposed deforestation regulation, every market sourcing cocoa for EU products could benefit from a single, unified system, raising standards and helping to level the playing field across the sector. Mars welcomes and welcomes this important step towards progress, but as each of the six commodities covered within the scope of the proposal faces their own unique challenges and scenarios, their supply chain security guard rails should not all look the same.
The case for GPS polygon mapping
Seventy percent of the world’s cocoa supply comes from West Africa, and 60 percent of that is grown in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Most are smallholders who farm ten acres or less of land planted with aging, unproductive cocoa trees that generate little income.
As the cocoa value chain is dominated by smallholder farms, which can be difficult to trace, it is crucial that the current EU proposal is revised to reflect this in the cocoa traceability rules. Using precise and accurate GPS polygon mapping that tracks the full perimeter of a farm for greater transparency and traceability would provide an additional layer of insight and vigilance. It would improve the ability to verify that the cocoa purchased was grown within the confines of the farm and not in forests or other natural ecosystems that may be nearby. With this level of detail and accuracy, it would be easier to prevent cocoa washing and verify that cocoa is being grown in deforestation-free areas. And using this technology would help cocoa product manufacturers gain the transparency needed to give today’s consumers what they want — to buy products that aren’t sourced from deforested areas.
By applying polygon mapping to farms in the cocoa sector, cocoa could serve as a transformation case study that could potentially serve as a basis for best practices for other commodities with highly concentrated supply chains.
Support and funding for traceable and deforestation-free cocoa
Mars is strongly committed to forest conservation and has already set a goal to achieve a deforestation-free cocoa supply chain by 2025. As part of its journey towards this goal, Mars has built strong partnerships with others and continues to work with suppliers and non-sourcing countries in the EU to achieve the goal of having 100 percent of their cocoa responsibly sourced and traceable to the first point of purchase over the next three years to have. The pawns that are part of Mars Responsible Cocoa Program They are also expected to use polygon mapping to trace farm boundaries, and by 2025 Mars intends to source exclusively from suppliers who meet those traceability expectations.
Stopping deforestation starts with transparency and technology, but success depends on supporting local farming communities at the heart of the supply chain. Although strongly supported by smallholders Because of the benefits it could offer – for example, facilitating the uptake of electronic payments, leaner farmer cooperatives and more – additional traceability requirements may put an extra burden on them, so it is vital that the EU works with West African governments on funding and technical ones Support that ensures cocoa farmers are able to comply with new sustainability mandates. And while the deforestation regulation is badly needed, it must also be implemented in a way that gives small farmers and other key players in the cocoa industry enough time to adjust their supply chains.
Demand for cocoa is steadily increasing and the global cocoa market is expected to reach new heights by 2027. Therefore, it is particularly important that we employ smart and thoughtful practices, including the use of GPS polygon mapping, that support the long-term sustainability of cocoa throughout the cocoa supply chain. With proactive efforts, diligent regulation, and collaborative partnerships across the industry, we can have our deforestation-free chocolate and eat it too.
https://www.politico.eu/sponsored-content/polygon-mapping-is-critical-to-a-deforestation-free-cocoa-supply-chain/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Polygon mapping is critical for a deforestation-free cocoa supply chain - POLITICO