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Transforming Supply Chains Simplification & Verification


Palm oil farmer with a pole pruner saw.

Over the past several years, Mars has been on a journey to map our palm oil supply chain. Since 2018, we have published our full mill lists to show our progress. We had more than 1,500 mills supplying raw material, a number far too complex to manage, especially for a company that uses only 0.1% of the world’s palm oil.

In 2019 we announced our ambition is to significantly simplify our palm oil supply chain. Through its supply chain simplification, Mars is taking its mill count from 1500 to fewer than 100 by 2021, and is on the path to further halve that in 2022. This will be coupled with meaningful engagement on human rights, and on-the-ground and satellite verification processes to monitor deforestation. If instances of non-compliance occur within the palm oil supply chain, the following decision management process will be followed for resolution.

Through simplification we are able to select the suppliers and mills we desire in our supply chain. With a shorter supply chain comprised of partners who are committed to driving improvements in the systems and conditions in which we source, we can:

  • Increase accountability, influence and connectivity through deeper relationships with suppliers whom we can visit.
  • Employ satellite mapping to monitor land use across all of our suppliers.
  • Work directly with our tier 1 suppliers as they build their capabilities to monitor, address and prevent human rights risks in their supply chains.

In 2017, Mars engaged with its global human rights partner Verité and supplier Wilmar to explore how businesses across the palm oil supply chain can better understand, address and prevent human rights risks. The resulting Case Study of the collective findings was published in September 2020 and through this collaboration, Mars is supporting the creation of an open-source set of resources to aid companies to manage human rights issues in extended palm oil supply chains.

Region by region, we are progressing by engaging in longer-term contracts with those suppliers who commit to and deliver supply chains that meet our expectations. One example is in its supply chain to its Asia-Pacific businesses, where Mars is now sourcing from UniFuji – a partnership between United Plantations and Fuji Oil - which has reduced operations from 780 mills to just 1. This has been achieved through a 1:1:1 model – which means that palm is grown on one plantation, processed through one mill and one refinery before reaching Mars. Mars and UnifFuji share a commitment to source in ways that are both good for people and the environment and has become the model upon which Mars has built its simplified supply chain, region by region, across the globe.

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