Water Impact: Reduce Water Use & Improve Quality – Sustainability | Mars, Incorporated
Water Impacts

WATER IMPACTS

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR RESOURCE USE

Every drop of water is precious — the life-giving liquid is maybe the most important resource on the planet, and we need to protect it. Unfortunately, one in three people worldwide lacks enough water to meet daily needs, according to the World Health Organization. As populations continue to grow, our Associates want to help. Everyone at Mars is focused on using water more efficiently in our production processes and in everyday life at the office or factory.

Carefully managing the water we need for our operations is vital to protecting our business, our communities and the planet. We are committed to appreciating every drop, safeguarding water quality and availability wherever we operate. Our water strategy takes into account:

  • The total quantity of water used
  • The water source, e.g., rainfall or aquifer
  • Local levels of water stress
  • Wastewater quality

Some places are in more urgent need of water conservation than others. Our research shows that 43 percent of our plants are located in areas with high water stress.1 In 2016, we will introduced new, more challenging water use targets for all sites with high local water stress.

PRINCIPLES IN ACTION 2015 SPOTLIGHT: WATER USE TARGET

Since 2007, we’ve managed to reduce water use in our facilities by nearly 17 percent. We’re extremely proud of the Associates and teams who have helped us achieve this — read more below.

Although we didn’t make our target, we’ve learned a lot along the way. From now on, we’ll change the way we work to focus on reducing water in sites that are water-stressed.

2015 TARGET: REDUCE WATER USE BY 25 PERCENT
PROGRESS: 16.9 PERCENT WATER REDUCTION — UPPING OUR EFFORTS

REDUCING WATER USE ON-SITE

  • Wrigley’s factory in Plymouth, UK, captures about 2,000 m3 of rainwater each year — a third of the water they need for their cooling towers. This is a great example of saving money and doing better for the environment. In Asquith, Australia, Wrigley implemented a similar project — capturing rainwater for all sorts of uses, from restrooms to cooling towers. The result is a 35 percent reduction in how much water we use from the grid, saving 3,600 m3 annually.
  • Mars Drinks’ National Office in Basingstoke, UK, is catching rain from the sky and using it to cut their use of traditional water sources by over 40 percent. The project has been such a success that we’re planning on implementing it in other locations. Currently, we’re looking at installing similar rainwater harvesting systems at our West Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S., factory.
  • Mars Petcare in Birstall, UK, is also using natural rainfall in an innovative way. Because we use a lot of water in a process called bio-filtration, which helps cut down on the smell from our ovens, our Associates there installed a 240 m3 rainwater collection. Based on the site’s average rainfall, we think the project will cut down the water we use for the process by 60 percent, saving almost 5,000 m3 per year.
  • Mars Chocolate in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., managed to cut annual water use by 11 percent by installing a new cooling tower, using a new belt-washing system and encouraging conservation by Associates. In total, the site has reduced its water consumption by 27 percent (114,000 m3) since 2007 — even as production increased by 21 percent.

REDUCING WATER USE IN OUR SUPPLY CHAIN

Conserving water is important all the way down our supply chain. We work with our Tier 1 suppliers to help them use water more sustainably. We focus on our agricultural suppliers, who rely on water the most of anyone in our supply chain — this includes our rice, tea, tomatoes and mint suppliers.

From the Mississippi Delta to Pakistan, we are working with the rice farmers we rely on to improve the water efficiency of rice. One great example is the work we’re doing on an alternate wetting and drying irrigation technique, which is proven to reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions with little or no impact on yields.

Our scientists developed this technique through research with farmers and universities in the Mississippi Delta, the results of which will be used to inform the project in Pakistan. We are also collaborating with our peers on the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative’s Sustainable Rice Project Group and the Sustainable Rice Platform. We’re all working together to come up with a pragmatic, global standard for sustainable rice production.

WATER QUALITY

We want to conserve every drop of water we use. We typically treat our wastewater so that it’s either as pure — or purer — as what we found or clean enough to discharge into municipal wastewater systems for further treatment.

Improving the quality of our wastewater is just as important as cutting down the amount we use. That’s because reducing volumes can actually increase the concentration of waste within it. We test our wastewater quality periodically, but we also recognize that we can get better at monitoring the volume we release. Because many water utilities only measure the amount of water used — not wastewater discharged — we’re installing our own meters to get the complete picture ourselves.

Our Petcare facility in Mogi Mirim, Brazil, was the first Mars operation to develop a water self-sufficiency program. Through a combination of conservation, reuse, rainwater capture and an onsite well, these innovative Associates are saving around US$626,000 per year.

Our Wrigley factories across Asia also manage their own wastewater treatment. The treated water is reused for on-site amenities — lessening the burden on municipal treatment systems. We are also working on increasing the number of our sites with large-scale rainwater harvesting systems.

1 Using the Baseline Water Stress measure from WRI’s Aqueduct tool, we consider high stress to be any area where withdrawals are more than 40% of available flow.

Around the world, Mars sites are working to lessen their impact and create more responsible water-usage practices.