Mint Sustainability – Sustainability | Mars, Incorporated
Mint

As the largest confectionery company in the world, mint flavor is a key ingredient in 65 percent of our chewing gum and confectionery products. We’re committed to advancing mint sustainability to ensure this $700 million annual crop will thrive for generations to come. We launched a dedicated initiative, AdvanceMint, also known as Shubh Mint in India, to do just that.

WHY MINT SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS

Mint, a specialty crop grown in parts of the United States, Canada and India, provides a livelihood to more than 1 million farmers. Each growing region has its own agricultural footprint and different social, economic, ecological or environmental challenges. Through AdvanceMint, we’re working in tandem with farmers and experts in agriculture, economics and supply chains to better understand and address these challenges. Our focus is on implementing sustainable solutions – from using water and resources more efficiently and strengthening plant resiliency, to supporting communities through literacy, education, skills training and women’s empowerment projects. Ultimately, we want to extend opportunity, fairness, dignity and respect to everyone in our supply chain.

AdvanceMint represents the latest step in our long history of supporting mint farming and delivers on the Mars Five Principles. It also aligns with key elements of Mars Sustainable in a Generation Plan. As a family-owned company, Mars has always believed that business should create mutual, enduring societal benefits for the people of today and for generations to come.

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Our Commitment:

By 2025, we aim to:

Advance mint plant science

We’re collaborating with research partners to better understand the mint plant and the needs for the future of production globally to ensure long-term mint sustainability

Reduce water consumption by 30% in water-stressed areas

We’re contributing to a healthier planet by promoting Good Agricultural Practices

Improve smallholder farmer incomes

We’re partnering with industry experts and suppliers to strengthen the livelihoods of mint farming communities

AdvanceMint focuses on three critical areas:

Resilient Plants

We’re partnering with researchers and industry experts to develop a more sustainable and efficient mint crop.

Scientific data tells us changing weather patterns, soil health and disease are threatening the long-term viability of mint farming. We’re funding research with the goal of developing plants that can resist disease, produce higher yields, adapt to climate change and use water efficiently. Mint farmers everywhere face the challenges of global climate change and only through collaboration can we help address these challenges.

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Resilient Farming

We’re equipping farmers with good agricultural practices (GAP) to increase productivity, improve soil health, decrease environmental impact and maximize farm incomes.

In India, smallholder mint farmers face declining yields and increasing water stress. Over the next five years, we’re working with our partner, Agribusiness Systems International (ASI), to train more than 20,000 smallholder farmers in Uttar Pradesh – a key mint growing region – on the implementation of GAP. Our program will bring farmers together to learn about mint planting techniques, irrigation, soil health and intercropping.

In the U.S. and Canada, mint farming has a high cost of entry, which can sometimes make implementing new and better agricultural practices difficult. To help address this, we’re starting a pilot program in Fall 2017 that will offer annual funding to state mint associations. The funds will enable farmers to test or implement the best known practices aimed at reducing water usage, improving soil health and/or increasing energy efficiency.

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Resilient Communities

We’re supporting mint growing communities by empowering farmers, women and youth with educational and training opportunities and better access to capital.

In Uttar Pradesh, farmers are largely engaged in subsistence farming and mint is a valuable cash crop that provides them additional household income. However, their income remains low and they face a variety of socioeconomic challenges, such as gender inequality and educational disparity.

Through our partnership with ASI, we’re organizing more than 200 self-help groups for women in India to connect, access information and capital, and learn farming and other livelihood skills. We’re also supporting our suppliers’ efforts through READ India, a non-governmental organization (NGO), to fund new village libraries in India where books, computers, safe drinking water and training will be offered. These libraries will serve as community meeting places and help to build social capital.

In North America, we source mint indirectly from more than 300 farms, covering approximately 100,000 acres. To build stronger connections between our current and future farmers and consumers, we’re developing a program with universities in mint-growing states. The intent is to expose the students at these schools to the sustainable agricultural practices that mint farmers are employing, and create a deeper connection between those who grow our food and those who consume it.

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Our Partners

Without the support and guidance of agriculture and supply chain experts we work with in each mint growing region, AdvanceMint would not be possible.

We work with a variety of partners – including universities, scientists, extension agents, farmers, NGOs, trade associations and suppliers – that are collaborative, willing to work together on pre-competitive issues and contribute technical expertise. Together, we’re committed to co-creating programs that are mutually beneficial to farming households and drive positive social, ecological and environmental impact in our sourcing communities.

Pratham

The Wrigley Company Foundation and Pratham, the largest non-governmental organization in India dedicated to educating village youth, have joined forces to provide literacy and basic educational skills in more than 600 mint farming villages. Since the partnership began in 2013, more than 50,000 children have participated in learning camps, increasing literacy rates by 78 percent and math comprehension rates by 73 percent, giving children of mint farmers a better chance at future success.

Agribusiness Systems International (ASI)

Since 2014, we’ve collaborated with ASI to conduct research supporting our mint purchasing team, inform our sustainable sourcing investments in India, and provide strategic design and agricultural extension support for our GAP program. Importantly, ASI is helping us implement Shubh Mint, as AdvanceMint is known in India, in eastern Uttar Pradesh. In 2017, we launched the GAP program with 2,500 farmers and began organizing 30 self-help groups for women. Later in 2017, we will release the results of our efforts and hope to scale this program to 20,000 farmers by 2021.

Mint Industry Research Council

We have a longstanding collaborative relationship with the Mint Industry Research Council, as a member of the board and technical advisory committee. The Council brings together all segments of the mint industry to collaborate on research and activities needed to sustain and enhance the productivity of high-quality and economical North American peppermint and spearmint. Current projects the MIRC is supporting focus on improving mint varieties with an emphasis on increased disease resistance for the long-term sustainability of the crop and a mint industry farm stewardship assessment.

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