Mars has pledged to reduce our impact on deforestation. We will endeavour to accomplish this goal by sourcing select raw materials from suppliers meeting strict criteria for responsible land use in their supply chains.
Rising demand for soy, a significant protein source, has led to conversion of natural forests into plantations in some regions. This type of farmland expansion contributes to the loss of carbon-absorbing trees which increases greenhouse gas emissions, upsets biodiversity, and on occasion dislodges native communities.
Over 70% of the world’s soy is grown in the U.S., Argentina and Brazil. In Brazil, one of largest soy producing countries, its cultivation threatened to become a major driver of clearance of the Amazonian rainforest about a decade ago. Mars’ focus is on this region, where highly sensitive forest areas have been historically felled for agriculture and cattle ranching.
In 2006 Greenpeace led a campaign that resulted in the five largest soy traders agreeing to a moratorium on buying soy from newly deforested areas of the Amazon Biome. The Soy Moratorium was recently renewed to May 2016. By that time farmers are expected to comply with the Brazil Forest Code, the Brazilian law that regulates forest protection.
In the eight years since the Soy Moratorium, numerous organizations stepped forward to develop criteria, protocols and certifications for sustainable soy cultivation. The Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS), ProTerra Foundation and the Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries (ABIOVE) are among the participants in development and implementation of the different standards. And, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) developed guidelines for its members on what criteria to follow. Mars is a member of CGF and supports the group’s standards “The Sustainable Soy Sourcing Guidelines.”
Our ambition is to ensure that, by the end of 2017, 100% of the soy we purchase in Brazil will be certified and coming from operations that are in compliance with the Brazil Forest Code. This means that, from and after 2018, Mars will only source material in Brazil that has been certified by a third party verification system, such as RTRS or ProTerra.
Because Mars sources from millers and crushers rather than directly from growers, we are engaging with leading soy suppliers. We have already met with them to clarify our expectations and to establish processes to validate compliance.
Between now and 2017, Mars will be working to:
Finalize the mapping of our soy supply in Brazil. This process will be completed by mid-2016.
Ensure to source from suppliers that abide by all Federal regulations in Brazil, that are pro-active in the soy moratorium program and that are fully engaged with local producers and NGOs. This process will be completed by mid-2016.
In addition, when sourcing soy in Brazil, we will source only certified material from companies that are in compliance with the Brazil Forest Code. This process will be completed by the end of 2017.
While direct sourcing in Brazil is the prime focus of this deforestation policy, we will also map the origin of our worldwide sources of soy by mid-2016. This effort will give us visibility into whether or not we are sourcing from other geographies that are sensitive to deforestation due to soy cultivation so that we can determine what, if any, actions we should take.
Whilst we complete the direct sourcing project we will study our indirect soy usage, which is the soy fed to animals whose products we use. The results will clarify the total scope of our soy footprint and will enable us to assess our next steps.
On an ongoing basis we will continue to interact with government, industry and NGO stakeholders to stay abreast of soy sustainability best practices.
Our Principles in Action Summary will include annual updates on our progress in implementing this policy.