A decade after Mars and other chocolate makers vowed to stop rampant deforestation, the problem has gotten worse
ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. — Mars Inc., maker of M&M’s, Milky Way and other stalwarts of the nation’s Halloween candy bag, vowed in 2009 to switch entirely to sustainable cocoa to combat deforestation, a major contributor to climate change.
But as the United States stocks up for trick-or-treating, Mars and other global chocolate makers are far from meeting that ambitious goal. Over the past decade, deforestation has accelerated in West Africa, the source of two-thirds of the world’s cocoa. By one estimate, the loss of tropical rainforests last year sped up more in Ghana and Ivory Coast than anywhere else in the world.
“Anytime someone bites on a chocolate bar in the United States, a tree is being cut down,” said Eric Agnero, an environmental activist in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast. “If we continue like that, in two, three, four years there will be no more forests.”
THE TROUBLE WITH CHOCOLATE