Mars truly believes that the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today. It’s not just a vision, it’s our compass for how we interact with the world – keeping one eye firmly on the future, and making choices in the near-term that have an impact without compromising on the long-term changes we want to see.
We believe purpose has a place in business. The bigger we are, the more good we can do. Purpose without performance isn’t possible. Performance without purpose is meaningless. Looking back at the past 12 months, we’re pleased to have driven a number of initiatives that we believe contribute to positive change today and that will build a brighter future for our planet and the people and pets on it. And it isn’t just at the corporate level that we are taking action: as individuals, Mars Associates have the freedom to give back and make a lasting difference through the Mars Volunteer Program.
Below are just some of the areas where we as a company have made progress, and we look forward to continuing this work and establishing new, forward-thinking initiatives in 2020.
Climate Action for a Healthy Planet
One of the key areas of our Sustainable in a Generation plan (SIGP) is our focus on Healthy Planet ambitions tied to Climate Action, Water Stewardship, Sustainable Packaging and Land Use. This area of investment will reduce our environmental impacts in line with what science says is necessary to keep the planet healthy tomorrow. The launch of our #PledgeForPlanet initiative during Climate Week and the U.N. General Assembly in New York marked another milestone in our ongoing work to tackle the impacts of climate change. We encouraged our Associates, suppliers, and the public to join us in saying YES to doing all we can to keep our planet below the 1.5ºC temperature increase threshold deemed necessary by leading climate scientists.
We are also on a journey to transform our approach to sourcing palm oil, and believe that when done sustainably it can deliver positive value across the entire supply chain. Our ‘Palm Positive Plan’ aims to deliver 100% deforestation-free palm oil by the end of 2020 and advance respect for human rights across our suppliers’ extended supply chains.
At the other end of our value chain, we’re rethinking our approach to packaging, because we believe there is no such thing as a sustainable product in unsustainable packaging. By reducing packaging that we don’t need, redesigning the packaging that we do need for circularity, and investing to close the loop, we will maintain all the benefits of our current packaging while also finding a way to make sure it can be part of a circular economy.
Additionally, we continued to focus on rebuilding the world’s coral reefs as part of our long-standing commitment to work closely with local communities to solve complex problems and help sustain the livelihoods of people in our supply chains.
We underlined our support for collective action on climate change when our CEO Grant F. Reid joined other leaders in signing a statement of support for the Paris Agreement. As Reid has said, “Now is the time to act with bold ambition to address the climate crisis. Action is good for business, good for the people of the planet and the earth we share.”
Social Equity & Thriving People
We believe we can and should play a role in increasing opportunities for people in the workplaces and communities where we operate, and have a goal to improve the working lives of 1 million people in our value chain. For this reason, we became one of 34 signatories of the Business for Inclusive Growth coalition, which is committed to stepping up business action to advance human rights throughout value chains, build inclusive workplaces, and strengthen inclusion in internal and external business ecosystems. We also launched local-level initiatives in the communities we touch, such as our DOVE® Chocolate partnership with CARE, which opened a new marketplace for women-led businesses in the village of Gueyo, a centrally-located commerce area nestled among the cocoa fields of Cote d'Ivoire in West Africa.
In lieu of a Super Bowl commercial this year, SKITTLES® created the first-ever commercial performed as a live Broadway musical. “Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical” raised money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS—a nonprofit organization that awards annual grants that help men, women and children across the U.S. receive lifesaving medications, health care, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency assistance.
We also formalized our partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to help improve economic opportunity and resilience in extended agricultural supply chains. The partnership marks a new stage of progress in our long-standing combined work to tackle global sustainability challenges and address the root causes of poverty.
As important as our commitment to the welfare of the people on this planet is our promise to pets and animals. This year, Mars Petcare released its inaugural BETTER CITIES FOR PETS Annual Report, which showcases the latest trends in pet-friendly cities and what citizens want to see in their own communities. We also continued our work as the founding corporate partner of The Lion’s Share Fund, which has now supported several projects since launch and continues to encourage advertisers to allocate a portion of their spend on ads that feature animals to help protect them as well.
To highlight our commitment to Mars Petcare’s purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS™, we were a presenting sponsor of Superpower Dogs - an immersive IMAX® 3D film and educational experience that celebrates the amazing true stories of dogs who save lives and make the world a better place.
Creating a culture where people and pets to thrive isn’t just an external focus for us. We were delighted that our commitment to helping each of our 125,000+ Associates prosper meant that Mars was ranked in the top 25 World’s Best Workplaces for an eighth consecutive year.
Nourishing Wellbeing for Healthier Lifestyles
We believe people should have access to the products and information they need to maintain healthy lifestyles. Our Nourishing Wellbeing ambition is a commitment to help billions of people and their pets lead healthier, happier lives today and into the future. Innovation is key to this goal, and two examples of progress in this area in 2019 were the launch of our Seeds of Change Accelerator and our investment in foodspring.
In the U.S. and Australia, the Seeds of Change Accelerator provides industry expertise and funding for early-stage food businesses that are building a healthier and more sustainable future by shaping the meals of tomorrow. Meanwhile, foodspring operates under the principle that “the right food is the key for a fitter, happier, and more productive life.”
We’re pleased to be able to share this small selection of what we’ve accomplished in 2019, but there’s still much work to be done. It will take all of us – working together like never before – to create the transformational change that is required not just for the survival of our business, but for the planet as a whole.