Our Scientific Research and Engagement
Mars, Incorporated’s Five Principles of Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom have provided the foundation of our culture and our approach to business since long before they were first published in 1983. These Five Principles continue to drive our productivity, unite all our global Associates and guide our scientific research and engagement activities.
Mars scientists conduct fundamental and applied research across our network of labs and research facilities in a wide range of fields, including plant science, human and pet health and nutrition, food science, materials science and computational science. We also promote multidisciplinary research as well as cross-sector collaborations and exchanges with key external partners in universities, government departments, non-governmental organizations and other businesses. As a family-owned company, we realize that long-term investment in fundamental science and innovation is crucial if we want to be thriving another 100 years from now. By increasing our understanding of the world around us, we can spot exciting opportunities to grow our business sustainably, in line with our Five Principles.
As one of the world’s largest food companies, we feel strongly that we have a responsibility to help address some of the critical challenges shared by society in this area, such as food security, sustainable agriculture and global health. We believe that scientific research that spans sectors and disciplines will be key to successfully addressing these challenges. As such, this document explains the standards for research at Mars and align them with our Principles.
Mars’ Principle of Mutuality states that “a mutual benefit is a shared benefit; a shared benefit will endure.” It is therefore important that we share the research we are involved in to contribute to the body of scientific knowledge and to benefit others, from the farmers who grow our raw materials to society as a whole. We communicate about much of our research through peer-reviewed scientific publications and scientific conferences, and, where appropriate, support open access to research data. We have innovation teams at Mars who are applying cutting-edge research to transform the way society will farm and eat in the future by finding sustainable solutions to the food, agriculture and health grand challenges facing society.
What this policy covers
This policy covers all types of scientific research activities in which we engage, ranging from Mars-internal and Mars-external research to partnerships with universities, governmental and non-governmental organizations, foundations and other businesses.
Standards that govern our scientific research and engagement
We believe that our scientific research and engagement activities can be successful only if based on the highest standards of scientific conduct, quality, credibility and integrity. These include:
- In our scientific research, we rigorously apply the scientific method and well-established principles of good scientific practice.
- Each research project is conducted in the pursuit of scientific understanding to improve the lives of people and pets and to address business and societal challenges.
- Our research projects are reviewed by internal experts and, where possible, by external experts to ensure the highest standards of research quality and scientific conduct.
- All scientific research involving human participants complies with all laws and regulations that govern the protection of the rights, privacy and welfare of human research participants and adhere to the Mars policy on research involving human participants1.
- All scientific research involving animals complies with all laws and regulations that govern the protection of the rights and welfare of animal research participants and adhere to the Mars policy on research involving animals2.
- All scientific research and engagement activities involving partnerships with third parties (such as universities) are approached with trust, transparency and respect. Any unrestricted grants, donations, gifts, or in-kind contributions provided in support of external research are declared in all applicable research communications, publications, and presentations.
- Mars supports the right of scientific collaborators to freely publish research findings regardless of the nature of the outcomes. When Mars scientists author or co-author scientific publications and presentations, they are expected to fulfill established criteria for authorship and adhere to all standards that govern transparency and the declaration of potential conflicts of interest.
- Where Mars indirectly supports external research via trade associations or industry organizations, this must be declared in applicable research communications, publications, and presentations. All organizations with which we engage must follow the spirit of this policy, be transparent in disclosure of its funding sources, and ensure that funding is not linked to achievement of a specific research outcome.
The duty to ensure that this policy and any additional Mars policies relevant to scientific research and engagement are appropriately, effectively and consistently implemented ultimately falls to the Mars Science Leadership Team. This team of skilled scientific leaders at Mars is responsible for regularly reviewing the standards in this policy and updating them and the processes related to their implementation, when required. All Mars Associates actively involved in research are trained to comply with the policy’s guidelines and share the responsibility of ensuring that the guidelines are upheld.
This policy is supplemented by further Mars policies relevant to specific areas of scientific research and engagement:
Our Scientific Research and Engagement Policy