Mars has announced it will invest $1 billion to tackle urgent global threats, including climate change, poverty in supply chains and scarcity of resources.
As a response to these challenges, the world’s largest chocolate producer has unveiled its Sustainable in a Generation Plan, focusing on areas where Mars can impact change on some of the world’s biggest problems, as defined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The plan focuses on three ambitions: healthy planet, thriving people and nourishing wellbeing. Mars will aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain by 67% by 2050. It will also focus on improve the working lives of one million people in its value chain, through increasing income, respecting human rights and unlocking opportunities for women.
Speaking ahead of this month’s UN General Assembly and Climate Week in New York, Mars CEO Grant F. Reid warned the responsibility had never been greater for the food and beverage industry.
“If we are to help deliver on the targets agreed in Paris and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, there has to be a huge step change,” he said. “While many companies have been working on being more sustainable, the current level of progress is nowhere near enough.”
Mars, which had nearly $35 billion in sales last year, was one of the companies that signed a letter to President Trump, urging him not to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement in June.
Reid likened the food supply chain to ‘a broken engine’ that needs fixing if the industry is to meet its environmental obligations.
When tackling greenhouse gas emissions, Mr Reid said that many businesses, including Mars, have made good progress on the impact of their own direct operations, but haven’t made enough progress in their broader supply chains.
He added that efforts to address poverty and human rights down the global supply chain have been well intentioned, but have not yielded satisfactory progress.
“This plan is about not just doing better, but doing what’s necessary. We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s good business. Creating mutual benefits for the people in our supply chain, and mitigating our impact on the environment are sound business choices. We also know that increasingly our consumers care about these issues as much as we do.”
During the UN General Assembly, Mars will reveal plans to engage consumers on this topic through its M&M’s brand. The new campaign leverages Mars’s reach with consumers to champion the power of renewable energy and highlight the need for action in addressing climate change.
Earlier this year, Mars announced it would partner with Field to Market – an alliance of more than 120 organisations working to improve agricultural sustainability – in order to make its supply chain more environmentally friendly.
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