In keeping with its commitment to transparency and stakeholder engagement, on July 24, 2014, Mars, Incorporated held a live Twitter chat in collaboration with Aman Singh and TriplePundit to offer an in-depth discussion about sustainability at the food manufacturer.
Mars, Inc. published its fourth annual Principles in Action Summary this month, which details the company’s approach to business, its progress, and the shared challenges facing both its business and society. The Principles in Action Summary underscores its commitment to put Mars’ Five Principles into action to make a difference to people and the planet through its performance. Mars remains a private, family-owned business dedicated to the objective first expressed by Forrest E. Mars, Sr. in 1947 – to create a mutuality of benefits for all its stakeholders through its operations.
The Summary outlines the particular challenges and accomplishments associated with manufacturing food across a number of global iconic brands such as M&M’S, Snickers, Pedigree, Wrigley’s EXTRA, Uncle Ben’s, Whiskas and more.
In partnership with TriplePundit, Mars discussed via Twitter chat how it, as one of the world’s leading food manufacturers with more than 130 manufacturing sites, handles sustainability. Attendees learned about the company's biggest goals, challenges and accomplishments in meeting milestones and plans for the years to come.
In case you missed it, here's the Storify summary of the conversation along with additional follow up on questions that we couldn't get to in time!Extra Follow Up
We had such a great turnout of questions that we weren't able to ask them all in the time allotted. The Mars team took a little extra time to follow up today. Please see more questions and answers below!
@cmehallow: Does @MarsGlobal use @CDP Water Disclosure to manage/measure its #water impacts?
We have just completed our second CDP Carbon response and are evaluating the Water and Forest programs.
@csrdispatch: This might be a cheeky question, but do you feel a conflict between commitment to sustainability and selling junk food?
Our consumers, both people and their pets, get nutrition and pleasure from our products. We are continuing to look at the role of our portfolio in addressing nutrition and obesity.
@dgardinera @dataeco: What have been your experiences with large #renewableenergy procurement?#MarsSusty
Our most recent large scale project was Mesquite Creek, but we have on-site projects or 100% renewable contracts at more than a dozen globally. We also just announced another project in Australia last week: http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/10219-the-sun-won-t-melt-this-mars-bar.html
@kellyfmill: Specific ways #sustainability goals are integreated w/ other departments? #MarsSusty
We believe it’s everybody’s responsibility, therefore we have goals in all functions/departments in the business.
@jsonenshine: Can you share how you are driving farmer productivity? A3b: Driving farmer productivity is our way to do both.
Yes, as an example in cocoa, we are providing training, latest planting material and access to fertilizer for farmers.
@wssocialimpact: How does @MarsGlobal address sustainability goals in the short term?
We have a range of Sourcing Targets for 2015 and 2020 and Operations Targets (SiG) for 2015. More info at:
@gurumug: How you cross-verify #sustainability reporting standards/systems ?
We have a third party audit of our data and an assurance by Corporate Citizenship.
@greenguyboston: Glad to see your sustainable sourcing goals, but what is your progress to date against them?
Check out our 2013 Principles in Action Summary to learn more on our progress to date: http://mars.com/pia.
@jreneemorin: What are @MarsGlobal biggest challenges working with suppliers on #MarsSusty?
One of the challenges is that we work with 100k+ suppliers and often many tiers of them back to the farmer.
@cmehallow: When @MarsGlobal needs to access capital markets, does its strong #susty program provide advantage?
We are a private, family-owned business, but we do believe that boosting our reputation through sustainability is crucial to attracting great people to work for us
@rohitms4 #MarsSusty Is there any specific standard to measure your success in #sustainability?
Yes, measurement of impact and not just activity.
@earthshare: How is @MarsGlobal investing in associates and their communities? #MarsSusty
In 2013 we did more than 500K hours of Associate training, and through the Mars Volunteer Program, 19K Associates devoted 70K hours to their communities.
In response to A15: @darrylv: That is promising. How about elsewhere in your supply chain? #MarsSusty
Because there are more farmers in cocoa than any other crop we purchase, we started there first and we’re looking to learn from our experiences in cocoa.
@beth_rcarnac: As a Mars Associate, I'd love to ask @MarsGlobalWhere have you seen our Associates best come together to collaborate on this #MarsSusty
There are Associates at every factory around the world and collaborating across our sites to achieving our SiG goals.
The chat, sponsored by Mars, Inc, was led by Barry Parkin, Mars’ Chief Sustainability Officer, who is responsible for developing and driving Mars’ global sustainability programs across the value chain from farmers through to consumers. TriplePundit founder Nick Aster and CSRwire’s Editorial Director Aman Singh facilitated the chat, providing an opportunity for journalists, bloggers, industry analysts and other interested parties to get an in-depth look at Mars’ sustainability strategy.
Marissa is the Owner of Climate Social, LLC. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Mizzou and a master's in environmental studies from UPenn.