Mars CEO Grant F. Reid today said business needs to lead “transformational change” in order to tackle the most urgent threats facing the planet and its people.
Speaking ahead of this month’s UN General Assembly and Climate Week in New York, Mr. Reid said the responsibility had never been greater for 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. While many companies have been working on being more sustainable, the current level of progress is nowhere near enough.”
“Mars has been in business for four generations and intends to be for the next four generations. The only way that will happen is if we do things differently to ensure that the planet is healthy and all people in our extended supply chains have the opportunity to thrive. We must work together, because the engine of global business – its supply chain – is broken, and requires transformational, cross-industry collaboration to fix it.”
Mr. Reid said that when tackling Greenhouse Gas emissions for example, 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.
“Data and connectivity are helping us get smarter about our impact every year. Today, climate science is clear and we understand the environmental and social challenges in our supply chain better than ever before. With this knowledge, it is clear that the scale of intervention needs to be much bolder – now is the time for business to reassess its role and responsibility in the face of the evidence.”
As part of its response to these challenges, Mars today announced its “Sustainable in a Generation Plan.” The plan includes a set of far-reaching goals and ambitions underpinned by science and a determination to drive impact throughout the extended supply chain. To accelerate progress, Mars will invest approximately $1billion in its Sustainable in a Generation Plan. The plan focuses on areas where Mars can impact change on some of the world’s biggest problems, as defined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Sustainable in a Generation Plan outlines three interconnected ambitions:
- Healthy Planet – with an ambition to reduce environmental impacts in line with what science says is necessary to keep the planet healthy – focusing on climate action, water stewardship and land management. For example, Mars has announced a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain by 67% by 2050 – dramatically expanding on previous goals to reduce GHGs in its operations.
- Thriving People – with an ambition to meaningfully improve the working lives of one million people in its value chain to enable them to thrive – focusing on increasing income, respecting human rights and unlocking opportunities for women. For example, we have launched the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming to foster sustainability and poverty reduction in extended supply chains and the Farmer Income Lab, a collaborative “think-do tank” focused on generating the missing insights needed to eradicate smallholder poverty.
- Nourishing Wellbeing – with an ambition to advance science, innovation and marketing in ways that help billions of people and their pets lead healthier, happier lives. This continues on its current efforts around food safety and security; product and ingredient renovation; and responsible marketing.
Mr. Reid added: “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 one of the world’s biggest brands, M&M’s. The new campaign leverages Mars’ tremendous reach with consumers to champion the power of renewable energy and highlight the need for action in addressing climate change. Mars purchases enough wind power to offset the electricity needed for all U.S. production of M&M’s. Renewable energy also plays an important role in Mars’ Sustainable in a Generation Plan and key markets (U.S. & U.K.) already use it to power 100% of operations, with more markets to follow in 2018.
Mr. Reid said: “Through our much-loved M&M’s brand, we can inspire consumers on this important topic and shine the spotlight on renewable energy – one of the solutions that will help us to tackle climate change and meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Mars has a history of working on sustainability with others including helping create a united global front to act on climate change. The business spoke out at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakech last year, by signing a letter urging global leaders to commit to the Paris Climate Agreement, and last year launched its Moy wind farm in the Scottish Highlands to generate renewable electricity equivalent to the company’s entire U.K. operations.
Barry Parkin, Mars Chief Sustainability and Health and Wellbeing Officer said: “We know we cannot grow and prosper unless the planet, people and communities on which we rely are healthy and thriving.”
“Doing what’s right, not just doing better, is at the very core of our new plan. It’s about pushing the boundaries and extending our bold ambitions across our extended supply chain. When we do that, and when others join us, only then will we have the greatest impact.”