Mars, a global business that produces some of the world's best-loved brands such as M&M's and Snickers, is investing $1 billion over the next few years in its Sustainable in a Generation Plan.
It comes after Mars CEO Grant F Reid last year warned that the "global supply chain is broken," and business needed to make a "huge step change" in order to deliver on the climate targets agreed in Paris and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
By focusing on what is broken, Mars is exploring how companies can work with governments, NGOs and other stakeholders to create solutions. The company is starting the change in its own supply chains by:
A new sourcing strategy: the company will move away from a traditional commodity approach, changing the way it sources key agricultural materials to help address key sustainability challenges – including GHG emissions, water stress, land use, human rights and income. It will initially focus on 10 key ingredients where the impact is greatest, including cocoa, fish, rice, and mint, among others.
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Putting sustainability at the core of our business: Mars is combining procurement and sustainability to bring sustainability into the core of the business and to balance decision-making.
Deepening collaboration: to deliver change at scale, there is a focus on deepening existing industry collaboration and NGO partnerships, and on starting new ones.
Speaking ahead of the UN General Assembly (UNGA)/Climate Week NY, and on the heels of the Global Client Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, Reid said: "I am deeply invested in our plan to change the trajectory around how we do business. We continue to see a range of issues facing our global community – including climate change, poverty, obesity and water stress. Incremental improvement will not be enough. We must take action together.
“Mars has committed to working with governments, NGOs and industry leadership groups, like the Consumer Goods Forum, to make measurable differences – and to create a healthy planet on which all people can thrive. Collaboration is critical if we are to accelerate how we address the challenges facing us today."
Chief procurement and sustainability officer Barry Parkin said: "The transformation of supply chains is necessary across most of the materials we used to call commodities. In fact, I believe we're seeing the end of the commodities era, where materials used to be sourced from largely-unknown origins and bought purely for price on a transactional basis.
"The future will require sourcing from known origins and in many cases known farms, with price and sustainability impacts evaluated side by side and generally from longer term partnership arrangements with fewer suppliers. We have started to make this shift."
He added: "This first year for us has been about accelerating what is already working starting with the transformation of our raw material supply chain, building critical partnerships and testing new approaches. The next few years will see a significant scaling up of our activity and impact on the ground."
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