Renewable energy is any source that replenishes naturally over a short period of time, unlike fossil fuels, which take millions of years to form. Examples include solar power, methane from landfill, wind, hydropower and geothermal energy. These sources of energy also emit less greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels, or none at all.
We explore the use of onsite renewable energy when building new operations, and are increasingly installing renewable energy sources at existing operations. When done the right way through technological and business innovation, this can deliver both environmental and economic benefits.
Some sites are able to source renewable energy locally. For example, one Mars Chocolate and three Mars Petcare sites in Brazil use hydropower from a supplier to meet their energy needs.
We are also conducting onsite renewable energy projects at several operations and hope to scale up these initiatives. For example, Mars Petcare in Bokros, Hungary, has begun using local thermal springs as a renewable energy source of heating and hot water. Although it required a large initial investment, the equipment has already reduced the the site’s office and social room’s natural gas use by 80 percent, and will cut costs and greenhouse gas emissions over time.
Wrigley factories in Shanghai and Guangzhou, China; Poznan, Poland; Porici, Czech Republic; and Biesheim, France all treat wastewater anaerobically, which provides renewable energy in the form of biogas. At our European sites, we use the biogas to heat water and fuel boilers. This approach prevents methane from being released into the atmosphere, in addition to reducing our consumption of fossil-fuel-derived natural gas by approximately three percent annually at these sites.
Mars Chocolate’s Henderson site in Nevada, U.S., has installed a 4.4 acre solar garden, which generates 1.25 million kilowatt hours of energy per year. This supports 100 percent of the site’s electricity needs when the sun is shining, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 867 tonnes per year – the equivalent of removing 170 vehicles from the road.
Some Wrigley factories are employing solar power to cut energy use. For example, in 2011 the site in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S., installed 240 solar panels across nearly 4,000 square feet of roof space. The panels will generate more than 170,000 kilowatt hours of energy each year. In Guangzhou, China, we use solar energy to warm water for showers, hand-washing stations and equipment-cleaning procedures. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 200 tonnes, the equivalent of taking 34 cars off the road each year.