How Mars Is Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Mars, Incorporated is making strides to be more environmentally friendly. The company known for its chocolate reduced greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 25 percent and sent zero waste to landfill from its 126 manufacturing sites around the world.

Mars recently released its sixth annual Principles in Action Summary which highlights the company’s accomplishments. Mars has over $33 billion in sales and owns iconic brands such as M&M’s, Doublemint, and Uncle Bens.

One way that Mars is reducing its carbon footprint is by taking action on deforestation in its supply chains. And that means responsibly sourcing beef, palm oil, pulp and paper and soy from producers. It focuses on those four raw materials because they have the most impact. The company will only source those raw materials from suppliers that agree to the following:

  • Produce or purchase raw materials  from only legal sources
  • No deforestation of primary forest
  • No development in high carbon stock forest areas
  • No development on peat lands
  • No burning to clear land for new developments or to re-plant existing developments

Mars has met its sourcing targets for palm oil, black tea, coffee, cocoa, and fish. It gets 100 percent of its palm oil, black tea and coffee from certified sources. It gets 40 percent of its cocoa and 35 percent of its fish and seafood from certified sources. Mars also has a responsible sourcing target for rice. It has worked with the Sustainable Rice Platform to develop a global standard for sustainable rice, the first of its kind. It is using the standard to source 100 percent of its rice by 2020.

Mars invests in wind farms

Mars invested in a wind farm in Lamesa, Texas. Calling it the Mesquite Creek wind farm, its 118 turbines produces 200 megawatts (MW) of energy, equal to 100 percent of the company’s needs in the U.S. or enough to produce 13 billion Snickers bars a year. The wind farm began operating in February 2015.

Mars also has invested in a wind farm in Moy, Scotland. The 20-turbine wind farm produces 60 MW, energy equal to the power needed for all 12 of its U.S. sites, or the power generated by 34,000 average U.K. households.

Capturing rainwater to reduce water use

Mars has reduced water use in its facilities by almost 17 percent since 2007. In the U.K. it has used rainfall in innovative ways:

In Wrigley’s factory in Plymouth, England, the company captures about 2,000 cubic meters of rainwater every year, which is a third of the water needed for its cooling towers.

In Mars Drinks’ National Office in Basingstoke, England, the company has captured rainwater and used it to reduce the use of traditional water sources by over 40 percent.

In Birstall, England, Mars has used rainwater in bio-filtration, which helps cut down on the smell from its ovens. The project has reduced water use for the bio-filtration process by 60 percent, saving nearly 5,000 cubic meters a year.

Mars captures rainwater in other places, including Asquith, Australia where its Wrigley facility has used it in a variety of ways, including restrooms and cooling towers. The rainwater capture project has reduced water use from the grid by 35 percent.

Photo: Dominic Rooney