Mars Associates all around the world seek to create mutual benefits for our business and the people and communities whose lives we touch. Associates have the opportunity to make a difference in the communities where we operate in the form of paid time off to volunteer. We encourage them to get involved in efforts to improve lives and build lasting and meaningful relationships that make our company stronger.
We reward Associates who make a difference in their communities, as well as those who demonstrate responsibility, excellence in line management, innovation and results. It is important to recognize the role Associates play in improving our performance, because our business success is what enables us to create mutual benefits for others. We do this through our Make the Difference Awards.
Our Community Engagement Priorities
In 2011, we set a Community Engagement Strategy to ensure we make a difference in areas relevant to our business. We identified three priorities where we aim to demonstrate visible leadership:
Health and Prosperity for People
Focus: educating communities and providing the tools to improve their health, wellbeing and livelihoods.
Examples of programs we support: nutritional education projects, oral health education projects and projects that teach farmers how to increase yields.
Better World For Pets
Focus: improving pet welfare and the relationships between people and pets.
Examples of programs we support: education about responsible pet ownership and projects that break down barriers to pet ownership.
Focus: providing opportunities for Associates to contribute to or support our Sustainable in a Generation goals.
Examples of programs we support: investing in green facilities, local water conservation and anti-litter education.
“All of our Associates are encouraged to act as responsible and responsive citizens of their communities through support of and involvement in projects, organizations and services which work towards the common good and improvement of their community and society. Our business units are also expected to act as responsible corporate citizens through support of appropriate nonpolitical and non-sectarian projects, organizations and services.” Forrest E. Mars, Jr. and John F. Mars,in a December 1989 letter to all Associates
Associates have opportunities to support programs within these three community engagement priorities through our two signature programs, the Mars Volunteer Program and Mars Ambassador Program. The programs, launched in 2007 and 2008 respectively, provide all Associates with opportunities to use their expertise and demonstrate their personal commitment to making a difference.
Over 9,600 Associates volunteered more than 37,000 hours with 290+ organizations through the Mars Volunteer Program in 2011, while 80 Associates gave 4,590 hours of their time through the Mars Ambassador Program. Local site, segment and brand level initiatives support our community engagement strategy.
The Mars Ambassador Program
The Mars Ambassador Program (MAP) allows Associates to spend anywhere from one to six weeks supporting projects run by one of our partner organizations, such as the Rainforest Alliance or World Wildlife Foundation, or a program initiated by Mars in partnership with local sites and communities. Associates can go alone or take part in Group assignments, where teams of seven to 10 people travel and work together to increase their knowledge on a particular subject.
The program creates opportunities for Associates to improve their understanding of communities that support our business, while sharing their skills to increase partners’ capabilities. We support both our operating and sourcing communities.
In 2011, 80 Associates representing every business segment and region participated in MAP assignments with 16 partner organizations to make a tangible difference in people’s lives and our communities. See the box for highlights. We are very proud that MAP was shortlisted for the PR News CSR Award for Best Volunteer Program in 2012 for the program’s impact in 2011.
In 2012, we will continue to engage Associates through the Mars Ambassador Program by extending their in-country experience upon their return home. We will provide more formal internal and external communications channels for them to tell their MAP story, as well as providing an opportunity for them to serve as champions for the program.
Two past MAP participants from Canada went on an assignment in 2010, visiting our Mars Symbioscience site and Cocoa Development Center in Indonesia. They were so moved by what they saw that they began fundraising when they returned home. The pair raised US$40,000 for the local residents. The funding has provided the community with water and power supplies which were built by volunteer engineers from the Mars Symbioscience Noling site in Makassar, Indonesia.
Mars Ambassador Program 2011 highlights
The Mars Volunteer Program
The Mars Volunteer Program (MVP) offers Mars Associates one paid day a year to create mutual benefits for communities by putting our Five Principles into action. Associates usually volunteer at local organizations selected by their sites.
In 2011, more than 9,600 Associates from 144 sites around the world spent over 37,000 hours helping local people, pets and the environment. To offer just a few examples, the funds our Associates raised planted 21,000 trees in Poland, gave 105 children in India free eye examinations, provided shelter for 1,500 dogs, 500 cats and 50 rabbits affected by flooding in Thailand, and enabled 10 children from several developing countries to receive cleft palate surgery. See the feature box for more examples.
Responding to crisis in Japan
Following the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we provided financial support, food and pet rescue services to help with the recovery. Mars Japan and Royal Canin Japon worked with the Japanese Governmental bodies and the Japan Pet Food Association to provide over 20 tonnes of emergency shipments of pet food. We provided 10 cases of SNICKERS® to local ambulance and fire fighter teams and six tonnes of SNICKERS® in total to people throughout the impacted region. Together with the Wrigley Foundation, we also donated US$350,000 to the World Food Programme, the United Nations’ front line agency that provides food to people in need.
Rewarding Associates for Making the Difference
In 2011, we held our sixth global Make the Difference Awards. These awards take place every other year to celebrate Associates who put our Five Principles into action and bring innovative thinking, fresh perspectives and personal commitment to improve our communities, environment, workplaces and business. They reward innovation, responsibility and exceptional effort and help us share best practices across the organization.
Associates are nominated either individually or in teams. In 2011, approximately 15,000 projects involving 48,000 Associates were nominated. The winners were:
People Awards — Simon Knott; Julio Duran and Jesus Leos – for Associates who have made positive impacts through team leadership and role modeling of the Five Principles.
Planet Awards— Howard Yana-Shapiro and Juan Carlos Motamayor Aria; Craig Heffernan and Peter Low; Thomas Gaartz and Heiner Schiller – for outstanding contribution to Mars' activities that positively impact the environment.
Innovation Awards, Business Support — Andy Zielinski and Paul Blackwell; Hila Veneziano – for outstanding contribution to the business by generating and acting on ideas.
Innovation Awards, Supply — Dave Pontzer and Ken Beasley; Andrew Clegg and Dave Jefferies; Michael Behr; Robert Bock; Mourad Ashour and Yasser Nessim – for outstanding contribution to the business by generating and acting on ideas that have an impact on our supply chain.
Innovation Awards, Demand — Rima Sawaya and Kevin O'Malley; Lulu Yan and Ricky Tang; Alexandria Skolarikis and Kym Bonollo; Frank LaRusso and Jeff Pierce – for outstanding contribution to the business by generating and acting on ideas that have an impact on the demand for our products.
Lifetime Achievement Awards — Roula Kamhawi – for Associates who have made an enormous difference throughout their careers at Mars.
Line Manager Excellence - Tom O'Grady; Ahmed Abdel Waheb; Stan Whitman - for outstanding contribution to Mars' through line management and delivery of great results through people.