Our Raw Materials: Other Sustainable Raw Materials | Mars Inc.
Other Raw Materials

WORKING TOWARD SUSTAINABILITY WITH RAW MATERIALS

We want to develop sustainable supply chains and are dedicated to working with our partners to figure out the most sustainable way to source what we need. We’re committed to working with industry, governments, suppliers and other partners to make sure we can support the communities we depend on, while sourcing these ingredients responsibly for a better future for us all.

SUGAR

We use a mix of beet and cane sugar in our chocolate and confectionery products, sourcing most of it within the region in which it will be used, including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, the UK and the U.S. Though our footprint is small with these raw materials, (we use less than 1 percent of the global supply) we’re focused on ensuring sustainable sourcing practices.

For several years, we have worked closely with our direct suppliers like ASR, Copersucar, Manildra and Suikerunie to make sure our sugar is responsibly sourced while maintaining the highest levels of quality. Additionally, we’re members of Bonsucro, the leading global group for the sugar supply chain. Currently, none of our sugar is Bonsucro-certified, but sugar is one of the priority materials under our new sustainable sourcing strategy. All the sugar in our UK brand MALTESERS® is certified Fairtrade and comes from Belize.

We make sure to meet all regulatory requirements wherever we source sugar through the AIM-PROGRESS initiative.

PALM OIL

Similar to other food makers, small amounts of palm oil are present in many of our products. Although we use just 0.2 percent of global palm oil supplies, we are committed to protecting forests and biodiversity, minimizing the carbon footprint of our supply chain, and respecting the rights of affected communities and workers.

As part of our Sustainable in a Generation Plan, we’ve set a goal to continue getting 100 percent of our palm oil from certified sources. Mars hit that milestone initially back in 2013. We’re proud to see from our 2017-2018 report that we’re still at 100 percent certified sources.
See our palm oil policy. »

SUSTAINABLE IN A GENERATION PLAN: PALM OIL TARGET

In 2013, we reached our goal to source 100 percent of the palm oil in our products from certified sources. Our 2017-2018 report shows that we’ve successfully maintained this goal, but we’re not done improving. We’ve also made progress toward ensuring our palm oil is produced without deforestation. In 2017, we achieved 99 percent traceability to mill, where oil is extracted. This helped us identify the areas supplying our business and evaluate the risks of forest loss.

ONGOING TARGET: 100 PERCENT PALM OIL FROM CERTIFIED SOURCES
PROGRESS: ACHIEVED IN 2013 — MAINTAINING

THE ROAD AHEAD: MAPPING OUR PALM OIL SUPPLY CHAIN

Once we understand our palm oil supply chain, we can start working with suppliers to help improve standards and make sure our raw materials are sourced as ethically and sustainably as possible. In 2015, Mars’ palm oil came from mills in 12 different countries across South America, Asia and the South Pacific. Going forward, we are going to drastically simplify our supply chain to have a better control over the issues happening in the palm oil sector.

We plan to drive:

  • Transparency: Gain an even deeper understanding of our supply chain and make sure traceable palm oil is a routine when it comes to doing business with Mars.
  • Engagement: Work closely with suppliers, particularly those who need more support, and meet face to face with all of our direct suppliers annually.
  • Transformation: Strengthen our efforts to halt deforestation and respect human rights in our palm oil supply chains.
  • Verification: Work with The Forrest Trust to develop new models to verify how well standards are being applied on the ground.

MINT

There’s nothing like that all-natural, minty-fresh taste. That’s why we use real mint in 70 percent of relevant products. We’re dedicated to supporting high-quality mint farms and making sure our sourcing practices are sustainable. 

But mint farmers face real challenges: The mint crops are not productive or well developed, and farmers are challenged by the availability of water, conditions of the soil, and the pests and diseases that threaten the crop. Mint is a subsistence crop that is only harvested three months a year — most mint farmers make less than $1.25/day.

Mars is training 20,000 small shareholder farmers in India to develop more resilient farms. Through a partnership with Agribusiness International (ASI), Mars is training farmers in a range of areas, including planting, irrigation, soil health and intercropping. The new irrigation strategies help to reduce water use on mint farms.

The skills produced out of these trainings will support farmers in more employment opportunities and increase earnings. 

Our training with mint farmers has already seen a 66 percent increase in yields, nearly 30 percent reduction in water usage and nearly doubled farmer income. Previously, the mint yield was 7-10kg; it’s now increased to 15-20kg, with the mint oil extract enhanced by 15 to 20 percent.

TOMATOES

Tomatoes are the second most-used raw material after rice at Mars Food. Though we use less than one percent of the global tomato supply, we’re keenly aware of the impact of our sourcing and seek to play a responsible role in driving more sustainable practices.

Traceability is key! It’s important for us to know the origin of our tomatoes. Our tomatoes are sun-grown on primarily family-run farms that have a long history of tomato growing. These farmers are part of farmer cooperatives—local platforms that unite farmers to deal with larger suppliers and provide them with professional advice on how to grow good quality and high-yield tomatoes.

Every drop counts! Ensuring a sustainable supply of water is hugely important — that’s why we try to source from areas that use highly efficient drip irrigation for tomato growing. This drip irrigation is also very efficient in applying nutrients, reducing crop diseases, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Improved tomato varieties and more sustainable farming practices can also increase yields and reduce water use. We collaborate with innovative suppliers who encourage farmers to adopt the most efficient and effective sustainable farming techniques, limiting the impact of our tomato sourcing on the planet.

PEANUTS

Peanuts are essential to us at Mars. From SNICKERS® to M&M’S®, many of our most popular products use this wonderful legume, so we’re committed to working with the rest of the industry to fully understand peanut production and make it a more sustainable process. This work includes:

  • Jointly funding the U.S. Peanut Resources and Efficiency Measures Report conducted by the independent research firm IHS Global Insight, which found major potential improvements in farming practices among U.S. peanut farmers
  • Leading a collaboration with industry, government and academic institutions to sequence, assemble and annotate the peanut genome
  • Chairing the American Peanut Council Sustainability Task Force
  • Supporting research to develop varieties and farming practices that reduce land, energy and water use while improving soil health
  • Developing improved logistics to reduce fuel use
  • Evaluating new roasting operations to reduce energy and water use

CORN

We want to do everything we can to create a more sustainable future for corn production. We purchase from countries such as the United States and Brazil, and even though we buy more corn by weight than any other raw material, the amount we buy is less than 0.1 percent of global purchases. Notwithstanding our industry position we embarked on a journey of mapping our global corn supply chains back to origin to evaluate our most material impacts and to define how we can be most influential and drive change.

Most of our confectionery products and pet food contain corn, corn-based products, such as syrup, starch and sugar alcohol, or meat from animals fed on corn. We estimate that 25 percent of the raw materials we buy come directly from corn and that another 26 percent are at least heavily dependent upon it. A reliable supply of sustainable corn is key to our future.

DAIRY

We want to keep delivering the milk chocolate and caramel delights you love. That means taking extra care to contribute sustainably to the future of the dairy industry. Our suppliers include Deutsches Milchkontor GmbH, Fonterra and FrieslandCampina. In total, we buy less than 1 percent of global dairy supplies, and most of the milk that supplies our factories is locally produced — including in the Netherlands, France, Germany, UK, New Zealand and the U.S.

A strong, high-quality dairy industry is important for our business, the communities we rely on, and the world. By working in partnership with others to promote more sustainable agriculture and responsible sourcing, we can make it happen. This work includes:

  • Membership in the Dairy Working Group of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative alongside the largest dairy users and producers in the world. 
  • Collaborating with other consumer-brand companies and suppliers through the AIM-PROGRESS Initiative, which promotes responsible sourcing through industry collaboration. 
  • Membership in The Sustainability Consortium; other members include the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which has produced a life-cycle assessment of the U.S. dairy industry. 
  • Searching for additional regional and global groups focused on driving positive changes in the industry. 

VANILLA

We currently estimate that we source vanilla from approximately 1,000 small-scale farmers.

Mars co-founded the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming. This fund will invest 120 million euros to develop sustainable agriculture projects that improve incomes for smallholder farmers, while also tackling food security and restoring ecosystems. The companies involved in the Livelihoods Fund source a significant part of their vanilla from Madagascar — and demand is rising. However, there is not currently a stable supply of quality vanilla with the sector undergoing a chronic crisis.

The project focuses on empowering 3,000 smallholder farmers to build sustainable practices to produce quality and traceable vanilla. The key components are to:

  • Triple farmer income and empower 3,000 smallholder farmers.
  • Help empower farmers with sustainable farming practices.
  • Transition around 6,000 Ha to sustainable farming practices.

The project is being implemented in a new sourcing area in Madagascar, and farmers are being organized in a cooperative that they own. The cooperative purchases vanilla directly from farmers, avoiding intermediaries and resulting in more value flowing back to farmers (up to 60 percent of total price). There are a number of outcomes for the farmer:

  • Sustainable revenue increase spread out over time.
  • Improved food security.
  • Strengthened communities.

Once fully operational, the project will be a self-financing enterprise with further growth potential.

SOY

Most of the soy we source is in the form of soymeal for use as protein, an essential nutrient in our pet foods. The soy we use accounts for a tiny proportion (less than 0.01 percent) of global production.
See our Soy Policy. »

WRIGLEY’S: IMPROVING EDUCATION THROUGH PARTNERSHIP

Every child, no matter where they are born, deserves an education. In 2013, Mars partnered with Pratham, the largest non-governmental education organization in India, to provide quality education to children in some of the largest Indian mint-producing regions. Together, we’re increasing the number of kids in schools and encouraging parents to take an active part in their children’s education.


Whether it’s sugar, corn, dairy or other raw materials, Mars is working to create a sustainable supplier base for every raw material we use en masse.