Mars Embeds Sustainability Into Its Operations

Mars, Inc. is known for its candy. Although the company owns other, non-candy brands, including pet food, making candy is how the company began. However, the company is also making a name for itself when it comes to sustainability. Take Mars Chocolate North America, which achieved zero waste to landfill certification in all 10 of its manufacturing plants. That means those manufacturing plants did not send garbage to landfills. 

Mars has a goal of achieving zero waste to landfill by 2015, a target established in 2007. Since then, the company has reduced waste by 4,500 tons a year, enough garbage to fill 35 football fields, 12 inches deep, annually. Three areas have been the focus of achieving zero waste: efficient operating processes, recycling programs, and partnering with disposal vendors and local farm reuse programs. 

Last July, Mars outlined its global goals in the Mars Principles in Action Summary. One of the goals is eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 2040. Garbage that ends up in landfills gives off methane, a greenhouse gas emission with a warming potential 23 times greater than carbon dioxide. Methane is the second most prevalent GHG emitted in the U.S. from human activities, according to the EPA. In 2012, methane accounted for about nine percent of all U.S. GHG emissions from human activities. Landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the U.S.

Eliminating deforestation from its supply chains

Mars recently launched new policies to reduce deforestation in its beef, soy, paper and pulp supply chains. Last March, the company announced its deforestation policy. The new policies complement the company’s sustainability commitments to ensure that 100 percent of its cocoa, fish, coffee and tea supply chains are certified. 

Mars set the goal of having 100 percent of its virgin pulp and paper based packaging  traced to the country of origin by the end of 2016. By the end of 2020, all of its pulp and paper based packaging will come from certified, verified or recycled sources. By the end of 2017, all of the soy Mars buys in Brazil will come from certified sources. Mars is focusing on Brazil because it is a large soy producing country with many acres of forest areas cleared for agriculture and cattle ranching. 

When it comes to Mars’ beef supply chain, it is focusing on Brazil because cattle farming is one one the main drivers of deforestation in that country. During the last decade, cattle herds increased by 27 percent in Brazil and beef production by 38 percent. As a result, Brazil has the world’s largest commercial cattle herd and is the world’s largest beef exporter. By the end of 2017, Mars will only source Brazilian beef from suppliers who can demonstrate that the beef is not associated with deforestation in the Amazon Biome, where an estimated 70 percent of deforested land is used as pasture. All Brazilian suppliers by the end of 2017 must comply with the Brazil Forest Code. 

Photo: Mars