Sustainability, Health & Wellbeing for Growth
BARRY PARKIN, CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY AND HEALTH & WELLBEING OFFICER
We are a company founded on mutuality. We strive to deliver growth we are proud of by operating in a way that ensures a win-win for Associates, our suppliers, farmers and the communities where we live and work. To achieve this, we are making sustainability and health and wellbeing a fundamental part of how we grow our business by driving programs that:
Improve sustainability by using our resources wisely and responsibly. This will help us reduce costs and emissions, improve the productivity, affordability and quality of our critical crops, ensure that farmers earn decent incomes and advance respect for human rights throughout our value chain.
Improve the health of societies and individuals. We want to do this by making great-tasting products that are safe, nutritious and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced meal. Our consumers should feel confident about eating our products and feeding them to their families and pets.
To be successful, our commitments must be built on strong, scientific principles and focused on long-term solutions. We are fully supported by the Mars family, the Board and the Mars Leadership Team, who are passionate about integrating sustainability and health and wellbeing into our core business objectives.
How We’re Improving Sustainability
Mars has a sizable environmental and social footprint. Using stakeholder input, we’ve identified five impacts — land use, GHG emissions, water use, income and human rights — that are relevant to our business. Our sustainability strategy focuses on tackling these impacts across three broad areas of our business:
Operations: Our first step is to focus on our offices and factories, where we have direct control. For more than five years, we have worked to make our operations Sustainable in a Generation by aiming to eliminate fossil fuel use and reducing our water use and waste. And we continually work to maintain great workplaces in which human rights are respected.
Sourcing: Mars relies heavily on agriculture. Our sourcing program focuses on improving the sustainability of our priority raw materials and packaging, boosting farmer income and advancing respect for human right across our value chains. We’ve identified the most significant impacts and will set targets across 23 of our most critical raw materials.
Brands: Our brands create powerful, engaging campaigns to educate and partner with consumers to champion good causes. We choose causes that resonate with our consumers — and strive for campaigns that deliver long-term measurable benefits for the causes and for our brands.
To develop the strategies, policies and targets necessary to drive progress on sustainability, I chair a group of talented Associates from across the business — the Sustainability Leadership Team. The team meets four times a year and includes business leaders with various areas of expertise and a senior representative from each of our six segments. The programs we develop are then implemented by business functions to ensure that all parts of Mars are involved, engaged and proactive on sustainability.
Finding Solutions to Health and Wellbeing Challenges
Across the world, millions of people don’t get enough nutrition, while others struggle with obesity. We are striving to do our part by improving our products and delivering more healthy foods, advancing nutritional research, promoting oral health and supporting programs that encourage active lifestyles and healthy diets.
But we can do more. Our nutrition strategy focuses on:
Providing information so consumers can make informed choices in support of a healthy lifestyle.
Modifying existing products to improve nutritional profiles with no perceptible changes to the products themselves.
Creating new products that provide consumers with a range of healthier options.
We also are working with peers, academics, governments and other organizations to improve nutrition and strengthen food security — our new food safety partnership with the World Food Programme is a good example.
As Chief Sustainability and Health and Wellbeing Officer, I drive our programs and strategies in this area. I report into the Mars Leadership Team, which is accountable for our health and wellbeing programs and meets bi-annually with our Board to review our strategies here. As a strategic priority for Mars, health and wellbeing targets are included in our corporate goals and measures. For example, our objectives include developing our portfolio to better impact consumer health and wellbeing, and leading in quality and food safety. The Mars Leadership Team reviews performance against these measures every quarter.
Leaving Behind a Positive Legacy
Our good progress in some areas, such as our Sustainable in a Generation program, has been encouraging. We are currently ramping up our sustainable sourcing program and developing new ways to do our part to tackle public health challenges.
On sustainability and health and wellbeing, we have a long way to go before we can celebrate. But through the talent of Mars Associates, and by using the Mutuality principle to test the strength of our actions, I am confident we will get there. We are taking steps in the right direction every day.