Our Principles in Action: Better Food Today. A Better World Tomorrow.
As a major food company, we recognize our responsibility to help consumers make healthier choices, ensure our ingredients are produced sustainably and reduce our operational impacts. In short: better food today, a better world tomorrow.
We strive to make high-quality, nutritious products which taste great and that consumers feel confident feeding to their families. We provide clear information regarding ingredients and nutrition to help consumers make informed choices. In fact, we are committed to rolling out Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) labeling across our products and hope to have 90 percent of our food portfolio labeled by the end of 2014.
We are committed to enhancing the nutrient content of our food portfolio. We have reduced sodium levels in all of our products globally by an average of 25 percent. Sodium levels in our UNCLE BEN’S® flavored Ready to Heat products have reduced by 25 to 31 percent. Additionally, we are expanding our portfolio of whole grain products and making innovative changes to many of our existing brands, including DOLMIO® sauces, which now use natural ingredients.
As one of the world’s leading food companies, Mars has a role to play in helping our agricultural suppliers to produce more with less. We aim only to work with suppliers that can consistently meet our standards and specifications which are compatible with our Five Principles. For instance, we are working with a group of Basmati rice farmers in Pakistan on a direct-from-farm sourcing program which enables farmers to learn from a team of local agricultural experts while ensuring the farmers get a premium for their crops.
We have also been working with the University of California, Davis and the University of Arkansas to improve the sustainability of rice. This work aims to improve the ways that rice is farmed to lower greenhouse gas emissions than what is commonly employed in the field today.
We have set ambitious goals to make our factories and offices sustainable within a generation by eliminating fossil fuel energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing our impact on water quality and availability, and mitigating the impacts of waste by 2040. By 2015, our goal is to send zero waste to landfill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and total water usage by 25 percent. At our Mars Food site in Wyong, Australia we’ve already made great progress against these goals, reducing the site’s water consumption by 50 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 19 percent per tonne of product.
We are committed to finding innovative ways to transport ingredients and finished products, improving our packaging materials, and encouraging our consumers to dispose of them responsibly. For instance, in 2011, 69% of our packaging was recyclable or recoverable. We’ve also modified our DOLMIO®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and UNCLE BEN’S® jars to save 250 tonnes of glass and moved to a lighter cardboard for our UNCLE BEN’S® rice boxes, resulting in a savings of 850 tonnes of cardboard in 2011. We are also reducing or replacing materials in our UNCLE BEN’S® Ready to Heat microwavable pouches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 7,000 tonnes by 2015.
We are also committed to making a difference to the communities in which we operate. Through our Mars Volunteer Program, 673 Mars Food Associates volunteered a total of 3,243 hours in their communities in 2012, participating in projects ranging from teaching health and nutrition classes to children in Belgium and the UK, to distributing more than 10 million cups of Royco® soup to underprivileged people in South Africa.
Additionally, through the Mars Ambassador Program, a group of Associates from around the world traveled to South Africa in 2011 to teach children how to plant organic gardens.
Our brands play an important role in better food today, a better world tomorrow. Through our Ben’s Beginners program, started in 2012, we initiated a cooking contest to explore ways of healthy cooking and provide information on how families can prepare simple, healthy and flavorful meals at home. The grand prize winner of the contest received a $20,000 cash prize and a $50,000 school makeover.
Similarly, through our organic business, SEEDS OF CHANGE®, are encouraging inspiring community gardening efforts. To-date, we given away over 100 million certified seeds have inspired hundreds of organic gardens that will produce healthy and nutritious food.