Collaboration to create lasting mutual benefits is at the heart of the way we do business. Open dialogue and strategic partnerships have helped us establish effective business strategies, and we willingly share what we learn for the benefit of society and the environment. For example, our work with third-party certification programs to improve productivity, labor standards and incomes in our supply chain is driving industry-wide improvements, as well as creating reliable and high-quality supplies of our raw materials.
The groups we work with range from suppliers and retail customers to governments, nongovernmental organizations and the scientific community. We communicate with these groups at a corporate, business segment and country level. There are examples of work with others and the outcomes we achieve as a result throughout this website, with just a few examples briefly summarized below.
Our customers range from multinational retailers to small independent stores, distributors, specialty stores and veterinary practices. We measure how satisfied they are with our products and their partnership with us by using an independent survey. In 2011, Mars ranked among the top third of companies for customer satisfaction in six out of 24 participating markets. Our goal is to be placed in the top third in all markets surveyed by 2020. The annual survey results help us to develop customer action plans to keep us moving toward this goal and ensure we meet customer expectations. We also work with customers on initiatives to address social and environmental impacts in our value chain. See Partnering with Retailers for more information
Our goal is to provide consumers with quality and value through our products, packaging, advertising, consumer care and information sharing. We monitor the number of consumer contacts we receive, whether about packaging, taste, freshness or any other issue, to help us assess whether our quality standards are effective and living up to people’s expectations. Our goal is to reduce consumer complaints by 10 percent each year. We increasingly engage and partner with consumers through our brands to make a positive difference for people and the planet – see Our Brands for more information.
Our supply chain represents our largest impacts on people and the planet, and our greatest opportunities to make a positive difference. Our thousands of suppliers range from small farmers and cooperatives, to fishermen, industrial producers, municipal utilities and agency partners. There are full details about how we work with suppliers to improve their practices, boost their incomes and secure sustainable supplies of our key raw materials in Our Supply Chain, but key examples include:
Our Vision for Change program, which is helping cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire to improve their quality, yields and incomes
Our training initiatives for black tea and coffee farmers in Africa, Asia and South America
Our Supplier Code of Conduct, which sets globally consistent criteria for all our sourcing partners.
It is fundamental to our business values to communicate directly with Associates and work together with them to resolve any queries or concerns. It is important that all Associates understand our business strategy and performance, as well as any changes that may affect their work. Our culture encourages open, two-way communication and we encourage Associates to share their experiences so they know their opinions are valued and they can contribute fully to our success. Open-plan offices in all locations foster transparency and collaboration, and we use a variety of internal communication channels, including team meetings, quarterly videos from the CEO and segment presidents, and our intranet site. At the same time, we respect and work with unions and work councils in compliance with local national laws.
We use a wide range of tools to encourage engagement, collaboration and communication, including:
The Mars Annual Engagement Survey (facilitated by Gallup), which helps measure Associate engagement and informs action planning to improve our workplaces
The Make the Difference Awards, which solicit great examples from around our business of innovation, line manager excellence, and actions that are making a difference for people and the planet. We reward the most exceptional submissions and share best practices across Mars
The Mars Ombudsman program, which provides a confidential, independent, neutral and alternative channel of communication for Associates to express ideas and concerns
Our signature Mars Ambassador Program, which gives selected Associates the chance to leverage their skills for the benefit of communities and bring their experiences and learning back into the business.
See Working at Mars for more information. The careers section of our website provides information on how to apply to become a Mars Associate.
Government Officials and Regulators
Communicating with government officials and regulators in our markets is an important part of doing business in a way that creates mutual benefits. We contribute to a broad array of policies relevant to our company, consumers and society as a whole, from job creation and economic development, to health and wellbeing, to climate change. Our practices are informed through discussion with government officials and regulators. In all cases, local and federal regulations are followed wherever we engage in lobbying. Examples of our advocacy work include:
Close collaboration in drafting the University of Cambridge’s Natural Capital Leadership Compact ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20), which was held in June 2012. The Compact is a business statement of intent that urges international governments to commit to a global policy framework on the responsible and sustainable use of natural resources.
Involvement in Change4Life, a U.K. Government-led campaign to combat rising levels of obesity by helping people to eat well and exercise
Participation in governmental initiatives to reduce sodium intakes around the world
Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Côte d’Ivoire, which underpins our Vision for Change program and commitment to the country’s cocoa industry.
Through community engagement we aim to create health and prosperity in our communities, a better world for pets and a greener planet. These focus areas are aligned with our business needs to create mutual benefits for our company and communities alike. Our best programs involve partnering with communities to understand and meet their needs. Examples include the Mars Volunteer Program, the PEDIGREE® Adoption Drive, MALTESERS® partnership with Comic Relief in the U.K., and Wrigley’s support for the Foundation for Environmental Education. There are many more examples in Associates Making a Difference and Championing Causes.
We partner and engage with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in areas relevant to our business, using their experience to inform our strategies and our combined expertise to amplify the impacts of our initiatives. Examples include:
Our work with third-party certification programs such as the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified, Fairtrade International, the Marine Stewardship Council and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to promote sustainable practices in the production of our raw materials.
Our involvement in numerous national campaigns promoting responsible chewing gum disposal.
Our many partnerships around the world for promoting the positive experience of having a pet.