Our Raw Materials | Our Supply Chain | Mars Inc.
Our Raw Materials


We want to help farmers around the world produce more with less so we can all enjoy a greener world. As one of the world’s leading food manufacturers, we think it’s our duty to play a role in developing new ways to achieve higher yields, higher quality and higher incomes for farmers — all while using less land, less water and less energy.

Today’s global agricultural supply chains are broken and require transformational change. By focusing on what is broken, Mars has begun exploring how global companies like ours can create solutions. To start we must move beyond a commodity mindset to instead consider the role business and corporate buying can play in advancing better circumstances for people and the planet we share. We’re moving away from the traditional commodity approach — and committing to the smallholder farmers in our value chain.

We must change the way we source key agricultural materials. While we don't yet have all the answers, we are beginning in certain supply chains to explore long term contracts and other pricing incentives. At the same time, we will continue to advance the science behind better planting materials. In some supply chains, we believe that focusing on fewer suppliers with better supply contracts will lead the way to meaningful improvements. We are continuing to test and learn through a series of new initiatives that will help farmers to thrive, while at the same time reducing our value chain impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, water stress and land use, in line with what science says is necessary.

We have committed to purchasing 100 percent of several key raw materials through independent certification programs that share these same goals, such as the Rainforest AllianceUTZ CertifiedFairtrade International and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Our Sustainable Sourcing Plan

We’re tackling the most significant environmental and social impacts in our supply chain to help us grow sustainably. Our business segments work in partnership with experts, farmers and community groups to address challenges together.

Sustainable sourcing is Mars’ commitment to drive down the environmental impact of our priority raw materials, advance respect for human rights across our value chain and help to lift farmers out of poverty. This will be defined through our five impacts (greenhouse gas (GHG), water, land, human rights and income) and priority raw material sourcing commitments.

Our Responsible Sourcing program is a fundamental part of this commitment. We want to work with partners who share our principles-based approach to business, and we expect our first-tier suppliers to respect human rights in their workplaces, in alignment with our Supplier Code of Conduct.


Since 2007, we have focused our sustainability efforts on our priority raw materials, including black tea, cocoa, coffee, fish, mint, palm oil, peanuts and rice. In 2014, we added commitments on beef, paper and pulp, and soy as part of our Deforestation Policy.

Our updated sourcing strategy will cover 23 raw materials (including those listed above), covering 60 percent of our sourcing volume. The strategy will tackle the five impacts most material to our supply chain and stakeholders:


  • Land use
  • GHG emissions
  • Water use


  • Income
  • Human rights

We’re using input from our external partnerships and our knowledge of geographical risks to identify the impacts relevant for each of the 23 targeted raw materials. This will help us develop the most effective goals, policies and implementation plans to mitigate each impact.

For example, our plan to tackle deforestation is a good demonstration of our approach to tackle land use and GHG emissions. We have clear goals and implementation plans for the raw materials where deforestation causes the most concern: beef, palm oil, paper and pulp, and soy. Our commitments and impacts-based approach will enable us to make rapid progress toward eliminating deforestation in the most sensitive areas of our supply chains. 

Many risks in our supply chain are linked to environmental degradation and climate change, but potential social impacts are also concerning. In addition to our Supplier Code of Conduct, we released our Human Rights Policy in 2014, and have also appointed a human rights director. In accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, we are implementing a due diligence process to identify, mitigate and remediate adverse impacts on human rights in our supply chain. Our CARE framework guides our approach to human rights.



The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 84 percent of the 570 million farms worldwide are fewer than two hectares and are owned and run by families. These smallholdings, found mainly in low-income countries, support more than two billion people worldwide.

Many of our raw materials, including cocoa, coffee and tea, are grown by smallholder farmers. Because of the small size of their holdings, they’re particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, water stress, soil degradation and plant diseases. Poor training and lack of access to markets and technologies also result in lower yields and lower incomes. We work with experts and community groups to improve farmers’ resilience and livelihoods, and also to help secure a sustainable and high-quality supply of raw materials for the future.


Since launch last year, we have accelerated our science-based approach through major enterprise-wide changes, aligning the way we do business with the change that is needed. We are doing this through four key areas


We’ve committed an initial investment of $1 billion (and spent $320 million in the last year) over the next few years that will send a market signal and demonstrate our commitment to change.


We’ve reorganized our business, embedding sustainability into our procurement function and giving consideration to our sustainability and procurement objectives—appointing Barry Parkin to lead this new approach.


We’ve assessed our agricultural supply chains and prioritized an initial 10 raw materials, making changes to our sourcing practices that will allow us to realize change at scale.


We’re deepening our levels of engagement through industry organization collaboration and NGO partnerships, with the ambition of delivering solutions and reinforcing the need for alternative approaches.


We launched our plan with a focus on the change that is needed in this generation to ensure that the next generation will continue to thrive. We know that these changes won’t happen immediately, but we are taking responsibility now to establish the path of change that will enable us to adopt truly sustainable practices in the future.

Sustainability changes in progress: as of 2014, Mars purchased 32% of its black tea from certified sources.