2021 Year In Review: The powerful actions we took to make tomorrow better
It was a year filled with continuing challenges, flashes of optimism, new ways of working and, ultimately, hope for re-emerging into a brighter future. Through it all, our Mars Associates and partners around the world showed quiet strength and perseverance, adjusting and re-adjusting (and re-adjusting again) to the ups and downs that filled this year of “in-betweenness.”
Leading on purpose
In good times and bad, our purpose — “The world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today” — is our North Star. It’s the beacon we use to guide our journey, to make business decisions, and to push ourselves to do better for people, pets and the planet every day.
Here’s a look back at some of our purpose-driven actions from 2021.
Taking care of our own
Our people are at the heart of everything we do. And we can’t create the world we want tomorrow without safe and supported Associates today. That’s why our number one priority has been — and will always be — their health and wellbeing.
- In the spring, when the Delta variant of COVID-19 devastated India, where we have 6,000 Associates, we took action to provide our Associates, contractors and their households with vaccine access, despite shortages. We provided $2.3 million in cash donations to support access to healthcare, equipment, medications and services for families and children in need.
- As we were responding to the immediate needs in communities around the world, we were also looking ahead to define the future of work across Mars. Recognizing that work looks different today than it did before the pandemic, we knew we had a tremendous chance to reimagine our workplace rituals, policies and habits. So, we listened to our Associates’ experiences and tested new ways to optimize productivity and Associate health and wellbeing.
Inclusion & Diversity
In the world we want tomorrow, society is inclusive. We were thrilled to have been included as one of Forbes’ 2021 America’s Best Employers for Diversity and Inclusion for the third time, and look forward to continuing to make sure everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential. In 2021, we continued our work to create a more inclusive future in our workplaces, supply chains, and the communities we serve.
- We launched our #HereToBeHeard study to advance action on gender equality, to help shape a more inclusive business environment and create a world where women can thrive. We kicked off the study by asking the world a single question: “What needs to change so more women can reach their full potential?” More than 10,000 women from 88 countries answered, and the result is the #HereToBeHeard Report, published fall 2021. By analyzing their input, we identified eight main themes, as well as recommendations for business action — and will continue to report on our progress in the months and years to come.
- The rebranded Ben’s Original™ hit shelves in the U.K. and U.S., delivering on our 2020 commitment to create a more inclusive future that’s reflected in our brands. The change also brought a new brand purpose: To develop opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table and, as part of that mission, we established the SEAT AT THE TABLE™ Fund scholarship. Created in partnership with the National Urban League and United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the U.S.-based scholarship supports Black students interested in food industry careers with a five-year, $2 million commitment. It awarded its first scholarships in November.
- We announced our partnership with The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change “The King Center” and, during Black History Month, reflected on how we could drive meaningful change, with help from our partners.
- We showed our ongoing solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community during PRIDE Month 2021. We promoted the importance of LGBTQ+ visibility with SKITTLES® Pride Packs and Dreamies™ Pride rainbow packs. We donated to various organizations — including $100K to GLAAD. And we took our Pride outside, partnering with Blair Imani to promote LGBTQ+ visibility, using our platform to spotlight artists and creators through the SKITTLES® QueeR Codes program. Additionally, we teamed with U.S. LGBTQ+ artists to create original murals that demonstrate how they see the rainbow.
In the world we want tomorrow, the planet is healthy. And with the increasing impacts of climate change, we’re as committed as ever to the critical actions needed to tackle the environmental threats we face. In 2021, we worked toward our ambitious, science-based goals:
- We committed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our full value chain by 2050, including all scope 3 emissions, aligning with the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 °C.
- By 2025, our goal is to have packaging that’s 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable. Because, of course, there’s no such thing as a sustainable product in unsustainable packaging. Here are just a few of the packaging innovations we implemented in 2021 to help us reach that goal.
- Royal Canin, our largest brand, will pursue carbon neutrality for its full portfolio in 2025, with its first product range aiming to be certified carbon neutral in 2022.
- The iconic Mars® bar will be certified carbon neutral in the U.K., Ireland and Canada by January 2023.
- We pledged to achieve water balance in high water stressed operations by 2025 and pledge our support for Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Below Water, which is a call to action to conserve and sustainably use ocean, sea, and marine resources for sustainable development.
- One example of a Mars brand supporting our oceans: The SHEBA® Hope Reef coral reef restoration to restore coral reefs measuring more than 185,000 square meters — roughly the size of 148 Olympic swimming pools — at key sites around the world.
Since 1911, our leaders and Associates have been innovating for the world we want tomorrow to stay relevant, generation after generation. Now, it’s our turn to write the next chapter of our impactful innovation journey. Here are examples of our Mars innovation transformation in action:
- Mars Petcare launched LoveBug™!, the insect-based, nutritionally complete cat food. Bugs are a rich, efficient source of protein that, compared with beef, take up just 20% of land per kilo of protein and emit zero harmful methane. Plus, we source insects from a farm powered by 100% renewable electricity.
- Millions of cats and dogs around the world live on the streets or in shelters, without care and nutrition. To understand the factors that contribute to pet homelessness, we joined animal welfare experts to create the first methodological measure of pet homelessness. Our hope is that the animal welfare organizations and policymakers, pet professionals, academics and researchers can use the index to better understand the issue and point toward the most impactful interventions to end pet homelessness.
- The pandemic has taken a toll on mental health, and social distancing may have disproportionately impacted aging adults already suffering from loneliness. Pets play an important role in addressing social isolation, so Mars Petcare is supporting a new scientific study by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and its Dogs on Call therapy dog program. The study explores how animal therapy might help reduce loneliness and potentially influence positive health outcomes for hospital patients in aging adults.
- Our ongoing partnership with the Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting gathers dozens of Nobel Prize winners to meet the next generation of scientists — hundreds of undergrads, Ph.D. students and post-doctoral researchers from around the world. In 2021, we examined how genomics can help achieve global food security — the right for all people, at all times, to have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food.
- Our recently expanded relationship with Microsoft is accelerating our digital transformation by creating a unified cloud and data foundation to help us to focus on growth and operational speed, while also integrating additional intelligence into our supply chains.
We’re pleased to be able to share this small selection of what we’ve accomplished in 2021 and we’re gearing up for even more in 2022. It will take all of us – working together like never before – to create the transformational change required not just for the survival of our business, but for people, pets and our planet as a whole.