Cocoa manufacturer Petra Foods has appointed Marc Donaldson to the newly-created role of director of cocoa sustainability.

The Singapore-based cocoa supplier and chocolate manufacturer said Donaldson would head the firm's recently established Social Economic Environmental Development for Sustainability programme (SEEDS). The company said it has been promoting cocoa sustainability in several producing countries around the world and it has decided to group its efforts under a single programme.

Petra Foods CEO John Chuang said today (26 August): "The creation of this new position reflects the tremendous importance with which Petra regards the issue of sustainability."

"SEEDS is now the global master-plan that will drive the group's cocoa sustainability initiatives, and we believe that Marc is the right person to head up this initiative for Petra. Marc has more than 25 years of experience in the cocoa and chocolate industry."

Donaldson previously served as head of Petra's operations in Europe, overseeing Delfi Cocoa (Europe)'s operations and its subsidiaries from 2008 to 2009.

Last month, Petra announced that it would team up with Nestle to work on improving cocoa production in Indonesia.

Last year, Petra signed a deal with US peer Blommer Chocolate Co. and French chocolate maker Cemoi to improve cocoa production in Cote d'Ivoire.

The three companies formed a venture dubbed PACTS, or the Processors Alliance for Cocoa Traceability and Sustainability, to set up 30 fermentation centres in the African country.