Meet the woman helping to save us from a global chocolate drought — Shayna Harris

Image Credit: Mars.com

The Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan fosters a community of innovators for sustainability among students and alumni. Take Shayna Harris, who is the cocoa sustainability manager for Mars Global Chocolate, for instance. Her job—which involves travelling to cocoa farms throughout Indonesia and Africa—helps farmers to increase their yields, which both boosts the global supply of cocoa and lifts people out of poverty. Shayna recently blogged about her job at Bloomberg Businessweek.– Jason Jay, Director, Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan

From Bloomberg Businessweek

A public service announcement to chocolate lovers: The world is facing a severe cocoa shortage by the year 2020. A deficit of this magnitude threatens the future of desserts and tasty snacks everywhere. Imagine a life without M&Ms, Snickers, and Dove Bars. Bleak, right?

All kidding and product placement aside (full disclosure: I’ve worked for Mars Global Chocolate since graduating from MIT Sloan School of Management three years ago), this is serious business. The chocolate industry continues to grow, but today’s cocoa farmers don’t have access to the training and tools they need to boost productivity and meet future demand.

These are some of the poorest farmers in the world, and their crop yield, income, and quality of life are in decline. My job as the cocoa sustainability manager for Mars is to develop programs for farmers—many of whom live in remote parts of West Africa and Southeast Asia—to help them make cocoa production a sustainable source of income.

Read the full article at Bloomberg Businessweek.

Shayna Harris is the cocoa sustainability manager for Mars Global Chocolate. She graduated from MIT Sloan in 2011.

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