Mars creates new opportunities for cocoa farming families

Posted by Josette Dunn on 23rd April 2010

Today, Mars Sustainable Solutions, a new business unit at MARS®,  dedicated to delivering restorative and sustainable solutions that have a positive impact on our planet is unveiling the MyCocoaPaper product line – note pads, greeting cards, book marks, leather bound books – handmade in Indonesia from 70% natural cocoa bark and 30% recycled office paper waste. With the introduction of MyCocoaPaper, Mars aims to create economic opportunities that encourage healthy and sustainable cocoa farming practices.Successful cocoa farming includes regular pruning of trees, which provides better access to light and nutrients. In many farms, the prunings are burned as firewood or simply discarded as rubbish. Through partnership with local Indonesian organizations, working not only with cocoa farming communities but with long-standing artisans and craftsmen, MARS is supporting the creation of a new use for cocoa tree prunings: cocoa paper products.

The handmade cocoa paper process starts with the purchase of cocoa bark stripped during pruning at farms where Mars sources cocoa. The paper is then made at the Wisnu Foundation, a local non-profit organization, which combines the cocoa bark with collected recycled paper. Finally, the MyCocoaPaper products are individually crafted by an all-woman team of workers at the Saraswati Paper Company, producing sustainable, handmade cocoa paper products free of harmful chemicals.

“What we are trying to encourage is that, by creating a beautiful product, people can see that their waste can become something beautiful and also something viable, and hopefully encourage other businesses to do the same thing,” said Kali Sari, founder of Saraswati Papers.

“The women we employ come here to learn a special skill, and it’s our hope we can give these women opportunities. Some women have gone on to become school teachers and others have gone on to create their own small companies. We’re happy women can come here and feel part of a supportive group.”

“MyCocoaPaper enhances the livelihoods of those in communities where we operate, creating economic opportunities that support the livelihoods of women,” said Elizabeth Willett, MyCocoaPaper project manager at Mars Sustainable Solutions. “MyCocoaPaper will help drive home the importance of sustainable business models that have a positive impact on our planet.”

MyCocoaPaper is debuting in limited release exclusively at M&M’s World® in New York and Las Vegas. For more information, please visit www.mycocoapaper.com