Essays on Ethics in International Environments - MARS Chocolate Case Study

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The paper "Ethics in International Environments - MARS Chocolate " is a good example of a marketing case study. According to Mahdavi (p. 4), the global business environment is a dynamic one, which is characterized by both success and generation of increased cases of ethical issues and challenges owing to the nature and scope of international business. The increased cases of ethical problems facing multinational organizations have necessitated the development and implementation of international ethics and standards to guide interactions and transactions in international environments and attaining the objective of having ethical international accountability in the participation of global business (Yucel, 2009, p. 97).

Upholding international ethics is fundamental to the success of multinational organizations (Onkvisit & Shaw, 2008, p. 52). There are varied ways and areas where ethics are violated and among them are the issues of forced labour within the supply chain. As a new international marketing manager for MARS Chocolate charged with developing a new range of chocolate bars for the UK (United Kingdom) market, there is need to evaluate the current state of play concerning the use of slave labour (within the supply chain).

When developing this range of Chocolate bars and developing suitable recommendations, which forms the basis of this report.   Identification of case issues To ensure that the confectionary products especially the new range of chocolate bars are not only quality but also are produced based on MARS principles of responsibility, mutuality, efficiency and freedom, it is significant to ensure every aspect in the production adheres to international business standards and ethics (Mars, 2012, p. 1). In regards to the principle of mutuality, the company focuses on generating shared benefit where the terms and conditions are not at the expense, economic or otherwise of others with whom the company works as supported by Mars (2012, p.

1). For this reason, addressing the issues of forced labour/ slave labour and child labour within the supply chain is fundamental. Despite the flavour and sweetness that people around the world savour from chocolates, there are thousands of people hurting and crying foul in cocoa fields across the globe, those involved in the production of cocoa, the main raw materials used to make chocolates.

According to the CNN Freedom Project, the origin of most chocolates sold around the globe is most likely from plantations in West Africa, where more often than not, the labourers who tend and harvest the fields are children (The CNN Freedom Project, 2012, p. 1). Many of these children are slaves and are deprived of their opportunity to be children. Children forced into labour in cocoa fields are denied the opportunity to acquire quality education and they lack sufficient time to play and hence are denied the time to develop intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally (Jones & Pollitt, 2002, p. 109). More often than not, children recruited as minors lack proper nutrition and access to quality medical care and are subjected to hard labour, working for long hours and are constantly exposed to dangerous farming pesticides as supported by ILRF (2012, p. 1).

Those taken as slaves have to undergo mistreatment from their masters. In this case, the underlying cause of child labour and slave labour within supply chains internationally in relation to cocoa farming is the low prices that cocoa from farmers is bought by manufacturers and suppliers.

This translates to lower costs of labour, which drive farm managers and farmers to recruit minors as labourers to cut on costs and increase profits as noted by Aaronson (2007). According to Aaronson (2007), majority of suppliers supplying from cocoa farmers to the chocolate factories do not pay fair prices for the supplies as they seek to enhance their profit margins in the expense of the farmers. Consequently, the farmers opt for cheap labour, which is in the form of a slave, and child labour to sustain farming activities and earn a living since the cost of farming has relatively gone up.

Works Cited

Aaronson, S.A. Globalization and Child Labour: The Cause can also be a Cure. New York: Yale Centre for the Study of Globalization. 2007. Accessible from

European Cocoa Association. Combating Child Labour: A Holistic, Development Oriented Approach. London: European Cocoa Association & CAOBISCO. 2012. Accessible from

International Labour Rights Forum (ILRF). Stop Child & Forced labour: Cocoa Campaign. ILRF. 2012. Accessible from

Jones, I., & Pollitt, M.G. Understanding how issues in business ethics develop. Sidney: Palgrave Macmillan. 2002.

Mahdavi, I. International business ethics: strategies and responsibilities. Journal of Academic and Business Ethics, pp. 1-6

Mars. Mars, Incorporated and its Affiliates. Accessible from (2012)

Nicholls, A. & Opal, C. Fair trade: market-driven ethical consumption. London: SAGE, 2005.

Norton, M. 365 ways to change the world: how to make a difference one day at a time. New Jersey: Simon and Schuster, 2007.

Onkvisit, S., & Shaw, J.J. International marketing: strategy and theory. London: Taylor & Francis, 2008, p. 52.

Sislin, J. & Murphy, K. Approaches to reducing the use of forced or child labour: summary of a workshop on assessing practice. London: National Academies Press, 2009.

The CNN Freedom Project. Chocolate’s child slave. The CNN Freedom Project. 2012. Accessible from

Yucel, R., Elibol, H., & Dagdelen, O. Globalization and International Marketing Ethics Problems. International Research Journal of Finance and Economics, Issue 26, ISSN 1450-2887. 2009. Accessible from

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