Mars Takes Action on Forest Preservation

Mars, the company behind iconic brands such as Pedigree and Snickers, has adopted a new policy to tackle issues related to palm oil, which the company uses in some of its products. The policy package includes commitment to both industry leading standards and a fully traceable pipeline back to known palm oil processing mills by the end of 2014. Besides palm oil, Mars will also focus on other raw materials that have an impact on forests, such as beef, pulp and paper, and soy.

As part of the policy, Mars has introduced a new sourcing charter that will require all its suppliers to have a fully sustainable and traceable palm oil supply across all their operations by the end of 2015 and to have confirmed their commitment to the principles in our sourcing charter by the end of 2014.

Part of the strategy includes membership of The Forest Trust (TFT), which is committed to the delivery of deforestation-free palm oil. Besides, Mars has been a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2010 and currently purchases 100 percent of its palm oil from RSPO-certified sources via the “mass balance” program. Under the terms of the newly announced policy all palm oil received by Mars will be continue to be RSPO-certified but will also be fully traceable and compliant with the additional standards in the new sourcing charter.

Mars will report on its progress in fulfilling its palm oil commitment in its annual Principles in Action Summary and will also provide updates every six months on Mars.com. The company will also continue to partner with industry, governments and civil society on broader efforts to protect forests and ensure mutual benefits for the workers and communities that rely on them and will work closely with the Consumer Goods Forum’s to progress on this issue.

The cultivation and extraction of palm oil is one of the most controversial topics related to forests, especially in places like Malaysia and Indonesia. The Rainforest Action Network has linked it with the destruction of tribal people’s livelihoods, loss of habitats of animals such as Sumatran tigers, Sumatran elephants and orangutans, who were the topic of a Greenpeace ​campaign that went viral ​ in 2010.​

“We have recognized that even though we have already implemented a 100% certified supply of Palm Oil this is not enough. We believe that these additional measures will not only help build a genuinely sustainable pipeline for Mars, but will also help accelerate change across the industry by encouraging our suppliers to only source from companies whose plantations and farms are responsibly run,” said Barry Parkin, chief sustainability officer at Mars.

Image credit: Greenpeace

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