Mars, Incorporated is announcing a new power-purchase agreement with Apex Clean Energy to provide renewable energy that will cover more than 100 percent of the electricity needed for its 2,000 veterinary hospitals in the U.S. This allows Mars to continue to meet its sustainability goal to source 100 percent renewable electricity in the U.S., as it has since 2015. This agreement is designed to address the company’s significant business growth, including the expansion of Mars Veterinary Health.
Mars estimates nearly 11 million new pets were welcomed to U.S. homes in 2020, an unprecedented surge largely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the average vet visit using enough electricity to charge more than 600 smartphones, this power-purchase agreement will allow for more sustainable pet ownership in the U.S. and model greener business growth as the economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic.
Barry Parkin, Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer at Mars, said: “ As our business in the U.S. continues to grow, Mars is committed to embedding sustainable solutions throughout our operations. And, as the world looks to rebuild from the devastating effects of the pandemic, it will be critical for businesses to lead . This partnership is further evidence that we are moving full steam toward our emissions targets and driving climate action throughout our extended value chain.”
The partnership between Mars and Apex, facilitated by Commodity Risk Solution, includes Mars suppliers BHJ and Silgan Containers, and will enable construction of a new 121.26 MW wind farm in Ford Ridge, IL, set for completion by the end of 2021. The Ford Ridge Wind facility is jointly owned by Apex, with funds managed by Ares Management Corporation’s Infrastructure and Power strategy.
Together with an existing wind farm in Texas, Ford Ridge will generate enough power for the entire Mars confectionery, food, and pet care businesses in the U.S. This includes all Banfield Pet Hospital, BluePearl, and VCA veterinary hospitals, and more than 70 Antech Diagnostics laboratories.
Doug Drew, President, Mars Veterinary Health North America, said: “It’s imperative to Mars Veterinary Health that we take steps now to ensure a better future for people, pets, and the planet. This is a clear expectation from our clients and Associates. Being part of Mars allows us to take immediate climate action and make an impact beyond the walls of our veterinary hospitals. Ensuring that all of our hospitals are powered by renewable electricity is a significant step, with more to come.”
The announcement signifies important progress by Mars towards its goal of using renewable energy in 100% of its direct operations by 2040. When the project is completed, the U.S. will be one of eleven countries where Mars is already purchasing or using renewable electricity for its entire operations, covering more than 50 percent of its global electricity needs. Ford Ridge will add to the existing wind power Mars sources from the Mesquite Creek Wind Farm in Lamesa, TX, which has powered the remainder of the company’s U.S. operations since 2015.
When operational, the project will also:
- Create approximately 250 full-time-equivalent jobs during construction as well as permanent operations and maintenance jobs.
- Bring more than $36M in new revenue to local governments over the next 30 years.
- Provide participating landowners roughly $45M in lease payments over the 30-year life of the project, a meaningful infusion of revenue to help sustain the regional business community and agriculture industry.
Mark Goodwin, P resident and Chief Executive Officer of Apex Clean Energy, said: “Ford Ridge Wind represents monumental progress : not only does it bring Mars a significant step closer to achieving its renewable energy targets; it also brings their suppliers along on the journey to net zero. Mars, BHJ, and Silgan are signaling to the market and to consumers that sustainability is a priority — and that supply chain partners can work collectively to bring new renewable energy online , generating meaningful environmental and economic benefit .”
The Ford Ridge agreement is also a significant milestone of Mars Veterinary Health’s new sustainability roadmap, aiming to advance the veterinary profession for the health and wellbeing of people, pets and the planet. This roadmap aims to approach veterinary care more sustainably, with plans to mitigate climate change, reduce waste, and demonstrate responsible pharmaceutical stewardship.
This progress comes as part of Mars’ wider $1 billion Sustainable in a Generation Plan, which aims to reduce GHG emissions across its value chain by 67 percent by 2050 and reduce emissions from its direct operations by 42 percent by 2025 and 100 percent (net zero) by 2040. For more information on Mars sustainability programs and wind generation projects, visit: https://www.mars.com/sustainability-plan/healthy-planet.