MARS SHARES OUR LONG-TERM AMBITIONS AT THE CONSUMER GOODS FORUM
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MARS SHARES OUR LONG-TERM AMBITIONS AT THE CONSUMER GOODS FORUM

At the Consumer Goods Forum’s (CFG) recent flagship event in Singapore, our team led by Office of the President, Grant F. Reid, and our Chief Sustainability Officer, Barry Parkin, joined forces with companies worldwide to share best practices on topics related to the environment, health & wellness, food safety, value chain and more. During the summit, we also met one-on-one with our key customers.

As we now co-sponsor the CGF Sustainability Pillar, Grant spoke at a gathering of the Forum for Responsible Recruitment & Employment Panel. “As a global, family‐owned company,” Grant said, “we believe a successful business isn’t just defined by profitability and quarterly returns, but rather by long‐term value creation, trusted brands, loyal employees, and practices and policies which not just respect, but advance human rights and the environment.”

Being family-owned gives us a firm grounding in these tumultuous times and the freedom to invest in transformation. Almost one year after we announced our $1 billion commitment to our Sustainable in a Generation Plan, we have more to say and we are strongly urging our peers to do the same.

In particular, Grant focused on labor practices, telling CGF members that while their group intentions are good, the successes are nowhere near enough. The supply chain is broken.

Through consultation with CGF members and a wide range of experts, Grant discussed three priority concepts to fight against forced labor:

  • Every worker should have freedom of movement.
  • No worker should pay for a job.
  • No worker should be indebted or coerced to work.

The CGF has advanced the cause through 53 global events, reached more than 15,000 people in the movement, and asked 30+ standard‐setting organizations to adopt CGF’s Priority Principles. They are putting a strong focus on laborers within high-risk palm oil and fishing supply chains in Asia.

After an audit last year, Mars ended our relationships with three contract labor providers not willing to meet our standards, and drove improvements with four others resulting in positive shifts for work hours, pay practices, and protections for pregnant workers.

“But this is not a ‘one and done’ effort,” Grant said. “We must remain vigilant, and extend our due diligence into the parts of our business that we have yet to reach.”

Other topics Grant and Barry spoke on during the meeting included deforestation, plastic waste and food waste. Here’s a summary of our work toward these resolutions:

Existing CGF Resolutions and our positions

Food Waste -- we have already exceeded the target by achieving zero waste to landfill in early 2016. We’re already leading the next level of this—food materials in wastewater sludge—which others aren’t even worried about yet. Part 2 is to contribute to reduced food waste at consumer and agriculture levels. Most of our products are shelf stable (and who doesn’t finish a Snickers® bar?), however, in our raw material supply chain, we’re tackling loss and waste through food safety issues, like tackling aflatoxin.

Deforestation – We’re recognized leaders, having made commitments toward priority materials: palm, soy, beef, pulp & paper and in addition, cocoa.

Refrigeration -- We committed to this resolution in 2018, publishing our Refrigeration Commitment. Our major refrigerant use is in confectionery, which has been moving towards non-HFC ammonia for more than a decade.

Developing Resolutions from the CGF:

Deforestation – We’ve been invited by our peers to lead them through the development of new theories of change – a tremendous opportunity to both control our own destiny and help solve a global problem. Deforestation continues to be a major climate and reputational problem – we lose an area of land the size of Scotland annually. We need to agree on a clear, progressive pathway to resolution.

Packaging – We were heavily involved with writing the suggested Global Protocol on Packaging 2.0 commitment and due to the immediate and significant business impacts on our sector, a new internal strategy is being developed for delivery in early fall. The case for actions on plastics is clear.

Food Waste -- Since general adoption has been lower than desired, there’s a proposed deadline for making a public commitment by 2019. As we’ve already over-delivered on target, we strongly support the motion.