How will we remember 2021? By 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 compass 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.
At the beginning of January 2021, we renewed our ongoing commitment to take purposeful action to make a difference in our world. To be a force for good in the face of challenges, and to walk the walk of our purpose, to face difficult subjects head on, and to correct our course when needed.
Here’s a look back at just a few of our purpose-driven highlights 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. Working with Oxfam, CARE and Business Fights Poverty/Crown Agents and a local organization called Sankalp Beautiful World, the funds helped secure much needed supplies, such as oxygen and medications in major urban areas that are home to Mars Associates and contractors, as well as in communities where we source our raw materials. As part of the total, the Mars Wrigley Foundation dedicated $300,000 to Save the Children, who in addition to healthcare support and patient transport, will provide broader support for families and children.
- And even 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. What resulted is our flexible, hybrid Future of Work strategy – one that reimagines where, when, and how work gets done to maximize efficiency and empower our 32,000 office-based Associates, all while preserving what’s best about our culture. Now, with an evolved Future of Work strategy, we’re able to offer even greater flexibility and embrace a broader range of working styles.
Inclusion & Diversity
In the world we want tomorrow, society is inclusive. In the world we want tomorrow, everyone is valued and heard, and we’re united by the things that make us unique. In 2021, we continued our work to create a more inclusive future:
- 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 we published this fall. In it, women shared deeply personal stories, calling for systemic change they want to see from their employers, governments, communities and men to break down the barriers they face. 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 truly inclusive future that’s reflected in our brands. The change also brought a new brand purpose: to create 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 scholarship supports Black students interested in food industry careers with a five-year, $2 million commitment, and 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.
- PRIDE Month 2021 was the perfect time to show our solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. We promoted the importance of LGBTQ+ visibility with SKITTLES® Pride Packs and Dreamies™ Pride rainbow packs. We donated to various organizations — including $100K to our partners at GLAAD. And we took our Pride outside, partnering with Blair Imani to promote LGBTQ+ visibility, using our platform to spotlight artists, influencers, and creators through the SKITTLES® QueeR Codes program. Additionally, we teamed with LGBTQ+ artists from across the U.S. to create original murals that demonstrate how they see the rainbow and how they celebrate Pride.
- 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 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, aligning with the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 °C.
- Royal Canin 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 and the company’s largest brand, Royal Canin, is a global leader in supporting pet health through nutrition.
- 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:
- In the U.S., our Mars Wrigley team launched the Orbit® Gum 30-piece Mega Pack, a more sustainable option featuring an outer plastic package designed to be recycled in roughly half the U.S. recycling stream.
- We announced a two-year partnership with Danimer Scientific to develop an innovative home compostable packaging.
- We also launched the first recyclable mono-polypropylene plastic microwavable rice pouch in the U.K., a huge step forward in the Mars Sustainable in a Generation plan.
- Mars Petcare is getting ready to deploy food safe recycled plastic in wet petfood packaging as part of its global commitment to increase recycled content in its plastic packaging.
- 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 the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
- One way we’re 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. And there’s no better way to wrap up 2021 than with the new research by the University of Exeter and the University of Bristol in the U.K., finding that coral reefs off the coast of Indonesia are coming back to life, and the evidence is in the sounds of the restored ecosystems beaming with life!
In the world we want tomorrow, people and pets are thriving. 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 just a few examples of our Mars innovation transformation in action during 2021:
- Mars Petcare launched LoveBug™!, the insect-based, nutritionally complete cat food we launched this year. Why? Because 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 our bugs from a farm powered by 100% renewable electricity.
- The world we want tomorrow is one where no pets are homeless. Yet millions of cats and dogs around the world live on the streets or in shelters, without the care and nutrition they need to thrive. 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. At Mars Petcare, we believe pets can play an important role in addressing social isolation. So, we’re 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, PhD. students and post-doctoral researchers from around the world. This year, 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.