Mars, Incorporated is working through its iconic and loved brands such as M&M’S candy, BEN’S ORIGINAL rice and PEDIGREE pet food to tackle climate change by bringing sustainability to the forefront in every part of its business — from farm to table and pet food bowl, supply chain to store and home to veterinary clinics.

Read: August 2023 Issue of Food Infotech Magazine.

New Ipsos research reveals that nearly half of American adults (47%) think the responsibility to make change that influences climate change lies with multi-national businesses, like Mars.

The Ipsos study shows more than half of American adults (54%) say the American government has “a great deal” of responsibility to make changes that influence climate change, with as many (51%) saying that large businesses in the United States do.

Mars recently unveiled its innovative open-source action plan—the Mars Net Zero Roadmap—to accelerate action towards achieving Net Zero emissions. The Mars plan includes a new target to cut carbon in half by 2030 across its full value chain – which translates into cutting carbon by 15 million metric tons – the equivalent to taking nearly 3 million cars off American roads and highways.

“Our entire Mars business in the U.S and around the world is committed to tackling climate change to help people, pets and the planet thrive – from manufacturing your favorite treats, foods and snacks, to your pet’s nutrition and veterinary care,” stated Anton Vincent, President, Mars Incorporated North America & Global President, Mars Ice Cream. “I am proud that our teams across pet care, veterinary health, and snacking and food are committed to revitalizing the planet through positive impact on the environment at every touchpoint –ingredients like peanuts for Snickers, rice for Ben’s Original and our Sheba brand’s dedication to restoring the ocean’s vast coral reefs.”

Soil: Supporting the ground we walk on

This year, NUTRO, a Mars-owned natural pet food brand founded nearly 100 years ago, expanded its partnership with Kiss the Ground, a nonprofit focused on the healthy soil movement. Together, the organizations are producing an educational mini docuseries that highlights stories of regeneration across the country.

Kiss the Ground has been a key partner of NUTRO’s Greater Ground program since it launched in December 2022. The program drives change for the health of soil everywhere through amplifying, educating and building support for healthy soil action.

In the early stages of the partnership, NUTRO conducted research with Morning Consult to better understand how people think about their food. What they found was that while most consumers claim to be somewhat familiar with the process of food’s journey from farm to table, around 2-in-5 people are not very familiar with the role soil plays in farming.

Through storytelling, education and advocacy, NUTRO is putting in the work to bridge this clear awareness gap. The docuseries is currently in production and will premiere later this year.

Oceans: Rebuilding the coral reefs

For Coral Reef Awareness Week 2023, the Mars cat food brand SHEBA announced a new partnership to restore reefs in Hawaii. This commitment is part of the brand’s larger Sheba Hope Grows program, which aims to restore more than 185,000 square meters of coral reefs around the world by 2029.

The Hope Grows program is powered by a global community of reef builders and ambassadors, which now includes Kuleana Coral Reefs, a non-profit founded and led by native Hawaiians, fishermen, surfers, scuba divers, scientists and ocean conservationists who recognized an alarming decline in the overall health of local reefs and coastal ecosystems due to human impact and coral bleaching. SHEBA is helping scale up Kuleana’s work across the Hawaiian archipelago, increasing from 10 to 30 restoration sites across Oahu and Maui.

With Hawaii, the global Hope Grows program now spans 30 restoration sites in 10 countries across five continents, including the Great Barrier Reef, the Maldives, Mexico and Kenya. It’s also an increasingly visible proof point that there’s a human-driven solution to the human-created problem of coral losses due to climate change — a solution that can be implemented at scale and inspire others to help.

Waste: Rethinking Packaging

Packaging is an essential part of the journey to get products into the homes of consumers — but in a perfect world, that packaging material never becomes waste. Instead, it’s recycled, reused or composted. That’s why Mars, the maker of some of the world’s most beloved treats and snacks is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to reimagine and redesign its packaging.

Two innovations in this area include improved club jars for M&M’S, STARBURST and SKITTLES and theater boxes for M&M’S. M&M’S theater boxes are now fully recyclable in U.S. with the removal of the traditional plastic overwrap. This sustainability step eliminates 98 metric tons of plastic waste a year, equal to the weight of a space shuttle headed into orbit.

Mars also partnered with packaging supplier Berry Global to launch new club jars that contain 15% recycled content, replacing about 300 tons of virgin plastic per year. The easy-grip square jars are produced at Berry’s manufacturing facility, using a single-pellet, food-grade resin to assure a clean, consistent packaging material sourced from mechanical recycling. In addition to including recycled materials, the jar itself is also widely recyclable.

Available in three sizes, the new jars offer the same look and feel as previous jars – and the two larger sizes are 10 grams lighter per jar, saving 374 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year. Those CO2 savings are equivalent to:
– 42,084 gallons of gasoline consumed
– 45,494,350 smartphones charged
– 72.8 homes’ electricity use for one year

Crops: Safeguarding the food we eat

Mars Food’s Ben’s Original brand—has made a commitment to sourcing 100 percent of its rice from farmers working toward more sustainable and climate-smart rice production practices, aimed at reducing GHG emissions, reducing unsustainable water use and increasing profitability for farmers. Mars is also a member of the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP), a global alliance dedicated to helping small farmers grow rice sustainably and increasing their resilience to climate change.

The most notable practice being adopted here is a technique called “alternate wetting and drying,” or AWD. AWD allows rice fields to dry out before irrigating, a groundbreaking method in an industry that has long relied on perpetually flooded fields. AWD not only saves water and emissions, but it also has financial benefits for individual farmers: By using these methods, farmers are also able to decrease their fertilizer input and irrigation costs.

It’s just another way Mars is building a more sustainable world for tomorrow, one grain of rice at a time.

Author

An editor by day & dreamer at night; passionately involved with both print and digital media; Pet lover; Solo traveller.

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