From chocolate bars to cakes and desserts, cocoa is a key ingredient in all of your M&S favourites that contain chocolate. Cocoa is usually grown in locations close to the equator, such as Ivory Coast and Ghana, where life for small holder farmers can be hard due to unpredictable incomes, climate change and challenging farming conditions. We want to play our part in helping resolve these issues and support our cocoa farmers, so we have had a responsible cocoa programme in place since 2016. We work with recognised schemes, such as Fairtrade, the Rainforest Alliance and Cocoa Horizons, to make sure 100% of the cocoa we use is responsibly sourced. Through the promotion of sustainable farming practices, improved productivity and community development, our aim is to invest in schemes that help improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities.
In addition to investing in responsibly sourced cocoa, we have also partnered with non-governmental organisation, Emerging Leaders. This amazing programme helps teach workers and farmers leadership skills. More than 1,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast have completed the training and the impact has been fantastic. Participants have learnt a variety of skills, including budgeting skills and income diversification, and overall the training is helping farmers deal with the challenges they face.