Building back better from COVID-19
More than 1 million people around the world contribute to our value chain, and many live in farming and fishing communities affected disproportionately by the pandemic. Thriving people and resilient communities are more essential than ever to our Purpose and business. As we work to build back better, we’re collaborating with key partners on emergency response and recovery efforts, working to reach the most-vulnerable people in the most effective ways.
A targeted response to deploy resources
The devastating effects of COVID-19 demand fast responses globally, especially in communities where Mars sources many of its raw materials, which are often rural and farther from support networks and health services. We took a targeted approach and worked with existing and new partners to determine where and how to deploy resources.
We have invested more than $42 million in cash and in-kind donations for COVID-19 relief response, including $5 million to global humanitarian organization CARE to target supply chain communities in West Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Our assessment involved layers of considerations, such as preexisting vulnerabilities, current risks to health, human rights and incomes, and gender-based risk assessments—to determine our response. Among other response activities, to date we have:
Helped CARE establish more than 15,000 hand-washing stations in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, where we source cocoa, to increase community access to safe hygiene.
Mars CARE COVID
Deployed a rapid assessment in mint sourcing communities in India to help more than 4,700 women receive food assistance. Existing infrastructure as part of our Shubh Mint program with nonprofit Tanager helped us reach women with food, PPE and information to help stop the spread of COVID. Cases continue to spike, however, putting added pressure on hospitals and care centers, which is why we have expanded our partnership with CARE to include more community-based health interventions.
Supplied more than 5,000 women and children in Thailand with food and cash support.
Supported displaced migrants throughout Latin America with cash support, PPE and health information.
Improving our connections enhances our recovery efforts
We rely on our experts and partners who are on the ground as we support communities as they recover from the pandemic, which has highlighted how essential it is to build and deepen our connections in communities where we operate. We know we can move more quickly and effectively in places where we have strong relationships and networks.
Our long-standing investments in Cote d’Ivoire and India have enabled us to move quickly and in a coordinated fashion. In Ghana, where we’re beginning heightened community investment, we’ve been able to speak with women to gather information about our pandemic response, which will inform our future efforts.
We’re also bringing entrepreneurship training and early education opportunities to more women in India, who have key roles in the mint, rice and sugarcane value chains.
Mapping a path forward with Shubh Mint 2.0
As we work to live our Purpose and support resilient communities across supply chains, we’re deepening existing partnership and building new ones. The pandemic has helped us identify where and how we can do more, with our work in 2020 contributing to the Farmer Income Lab's Poverty and Procurement Through a Pandemic report. In our Shubh Mint program, for example, we are designing the project’s next phase based on findings from our response to COVID-19. In the coming five years our work in mint sourcing communities will focus on: