FT. SMITH, AR – Mars Petcare, the global leader in petcare, opened the doors today to what is not only Arkansas’ first sustainable manufacturing facility, but the first sustainable pet food manufacturing facility in the world. The $80 million, 305,000 square foot state-of-the art plant will produce Mars’ popular line of CESAR® Canine Cuisine for small dogs and has received LEED-Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the nationally-accepted benchmark in the U.S. for designing, constructing and operating green buildings. The Fort Smith facility was awarded “Gold” status for its impressive efforts to recycle water, reduce energy use and protect against erosion and light pollution. Outside of being the first sustainable manufacturing facility in the state, the plant is also the first to earn LEED certification within the Mars Petcare U.S. network.
“Our future is being built on the passion we have for pets and our desire to make the world a better place for them,” said the President of Mars Petcare, Luc Mongeau. “This facility demonstrates that commitment, as it allows us to make our remarkable products in a more environmentally responsible way. That’s good news for Ft. Smith, for our consumers and for America’s pets. I am proud to be a part of this and grateful that Arkansas has been so hospitable to Mars Petcare.”
Over the past several years, Mars Petcare U.S. has taken many steps to reduce the impact of its business on the environment. In addition to securing LEED certification, the company has expanded petcare plant recycling systems, modified packaging from paper to woven polypropylene and dramatically reduced solid waste.
“Just a few of the steps we’ve taken with our Petcare business in the last few years have resulted in the elimination of 4,500 tons of packaging per year and 2,300 tons of carbon dioxide emissions," said Kevin Rabinovitch, Global Sustainability Director, Mars, Incorporated.
Making a Home in Fort Smith
The community of Fort Smith was selected as the home for the facility more than two years ago. That decision was based on the fact that the location offered the perfect combination of several key factors for the business, including workforce, optimal location and favorable inbound and outbound logistics.
“Arkansas is proud to officially welcome Mars Petcare to our state,” said Governor Mike Bebee. “Their presence here is a good thing for our people, our pets and our economy. What is more important is we can now say that the first LEED-certified, petfood-manufacturing facility in the world calls Arkansas home.”
“Becoming a part of Fort Smith is something we take seriously,” said Chris Hunter, Manager of the Fort Smith plant. “This is home to an extremely talented workforce and a great city in general. We are looking forward to being a strong corporate citizen and continuing the partnership we’ve already forged with the community.”
Through grants from Governor Mike Beebe’s Closing Fund, as well as other State and local program incentives, the State of Arkansas and the City of Fort Smith have provided Mars Petcare U.S. with tremendous support in the construction of the Fort Smith facility.
As part of the plant’s opening, Mars Petcare U.S. is making a $5,000 donation to the Sebastian County Humane Society, underscoring the company’s commitment to enhancing the lives of homeless pets through adoption. Additionally, Mars Petcare U.S. will give a $5,000 donation to the Arkansas Earth Day Foundation, in support of their continued efforts to raise awareness on environmental issues.
“What a great day in Fort Smith to see the opening of Mars Petcare,” said Mayor Ray Baker. “It is a tremendous facility and will add greatly to the economy of our area, thus helping to make ‘Life Worth Living in Fort Smith, Arkansas.”
With the addition of this new plant, Mars Petcare U.S. will have 20 production sites nationwide dedicated to pet products, employing more than 3,000 people across the country. The company produces and producing some of the world’s favorite pet care brands including: PEDIGREE® Food for Dogs, CESAR® Canine Cuisine, WHISKAS® Brand Food for Cats and TEMPTATIONS® Snacks for Cats.
About Mars Petcare US
Mars Petcare U.S. is the U.S. pet care operations of Mars, Incorporated, one of the world’s leading food manufacturers. Headquartered in Franklin, TN, Mars Petcare U.S. employs more than 3,000 associates in the United States, with 20 facilities nationwide and owns some of the world’s favorite pet care brands, including PEDIGREE® Brand Food for Dogs, CESAR® Canine Cuisine, WHISKAS® Brand Food for Cats and THE GOODLIFE RECIPE® Brand.
About Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Incorporated is a family-owned company that produces some of the world's leading confectionery, food and petcare products and has growing beverage and health & nutrition businesses. The confectionery division offers a wide range of products that include chocolate, gum, mints, hard and chewy candies. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Mars operates in more than 70 countries and distributes its world-famous brands in more than 180 countries. Mars employs more than 65,000 associates worldwide. The company's global sales are over $27 billion annually.