What do we mean by sustainability? There are real challenges facing our world, and Mars is taking action to address serious issues impacting our business, including climate change, poverty, human rights, and health & wellbeing. Mars has revamped its Sustainable in a Generation commitments and is launching the Farmers Income Lab, a “think-do tank” to ask questions, create solutions, and inspire action to improve farmers’ income.
Growing our Impact: Mars Releases New Sustainable in a Generation Plan
The world is facing significant challenges. Poverty, water stress, climate change, and other social and environmental issues are holding back the potential of people, communities and businesses.
At Mars, we believe it’s time to take a new approach to addressing these challenges – an approach that takes what we’ve learned during the last decade by focusing on the environmental impacts of our direct operations, and expands our ambitions to our entire value chain. It’s also time to embrace a sense of urgency and make a more significant impact. That’s why we’re launching our new Sustainable in a Generation Plan – a plan that goes beyond addressing our impact to the environment, to grow in ways that are good for people, good for the planet, and good for our business.
Mars has long believed our business will thrive and endure for generations to come, only if the people we work with – from the farmers who produce our raw materials, through to Associates, customers, and consumers – thrive, too. A win-win approach is in the DNA of our company: it was first expressed more than 70 years ago by Forrest Mars, Sr., when he described the objective of the company as creating mutual benefits for all our stakeholders through the manufacturing and distribution of our products, and today Mutuality remains one of our Five Principles.
We’re combining our business principles with science to guide us in shaping a plan within which we can grow, while operating within planetary boundaries and delivering positive social impact. Our Sustainable in a Generation Plan focuses on three interconnected ambitions we believe are essential drivers of sustainable growth:
- HEALTHY PLANET: Our Goal - Reduce our environmental impacts in line with what science says is necessary to keep the planet healthy;
- THRIVING PEOPLE: Our Goal - Meaningfully improve the working lives of one million people in our value chain to enable them to thrive;
- NOURISHING WELLBEING: Our Goal - Advance science, innovation, and marketing in ways that help billions of people and their pets lead healthier, happier lives.
Transformational change will take time, but we must act now at a scale that will truly make a difference. Our Plan focuses on accelerating our efforts to ensure that today’s generation, and tomorrow’s, will thrive and that the planet’s resources will not be in peril. We believe our business’ resiliency, relevance, and success depends on our ability to be a force for good with people and the planet. We’re committed to investing in the future, taking a long-term view, and leaving the world a better place for future generations.
For more information on our new Sustainable in a Generation Plan, please go to: SustainableInAGeneration.com
Mars Launches the Farmer Income Lab: A Think-Do Tank
Agriculture is the largest employer in the world - with 500 million smallholder farmers supporting nearly two billion people. Many of these farms are family-owned businesses that not only contribute crops to global supply chains, but are owned by those living in poverty or extreme poverty. While Mars does not typically purchase raw materials directly from smallholder farms, we are a family-owned business and want these family-owned farms to be successful for generations to come. To this end, we launched The Farmer Income Lab, a collaborative “think-do tank” aimed at helping to improve farmers’ income.
Barry Parkin, Mars Global Sustainability Director announced the think-do tank at the Business Fights Poverty Conference in July 2017. “The goal of the Farmer Income Lab is to build supply chains in which farmers are thriving, engaged and motivated, and where all parties can earn an income that enables a decent standard of living,” said Parkin. The initiative will invest in research and shape dialogue to produce practical insights that will be turned into action. The Farmer Income Lab will focus on farmers in developing countries to create and test new business models while also considering issues, including:
- What are the fundamental enabling factors required to increase farmer income (e.g., farm size)?
- What drives higher farmer adoption rates?
- What are the roles of different actors in improving farmer income?
- What is the right long-term target for farmer income?
The Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming, an initiative Mars launched with Danone, as well as Mars’ programs in cocoa, mint, and rice, will provide a way of testing these insights and implementing new models to improve farmers’ income.
The Farmer Income Lab will be guided by an advisory panel of experts from academia, non-profits, and intergovernmental organizations, featuring Oxfam as the first member. Judy Beals, Private Sector Department Director at Oxfam, said The Farmer Income Lab is a “courageous step for Mars to take. We believe this initiative holds a lot of promise, contributing to meaningful change for farmers living in poverty.”