After publishing five scientific articles which show promising results of growing cocoa and improving farmer incomes, member of the board of directors, Frank Mars, delivered the keynote speech at the Fourth World Cocoa Conference in Berlin. Mars discussed the company's goal to develop better disease-resistant cocoa, as stated by the Mars, Inc. Newsroom. Frank Mars went on to tell the attendees, "But to achieve this will require all of us in this room to think differently and work harder together; not only on better plant varieties and farming practices and models, but also on pest and disease control."
The goal of the studies was to build on work done by Mars, IBM and the USDA on higher yielding pest and disease resistant clonal varieties in cocoa growing countries, and applying this knowledge to help cocoa farmers produce more cocoa on less land with less pesticides, which can improve their livelihoods.
Although there has been progress, Frank Mars points out that the action taken by the industry hasn't been enough to make cocoa sustainable. According to Mars, fixing this requires unity, change, open-mindedness and continuing innovation. "We know we can't grow and prosper unless the planet, people and communities on which we rely are healthy and thriving," he said.