Mars, Inc. recently unveiled its open-source action plan—the Mars Net Zero Roadmap—to accelerate action toward achieving net- zero emissions. The Mars plan includes a target to cut carbon in half by 2030 across its 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," says Anton Vincent, president, Mars Inc. North America & global president, Mars Ice Cream.
This year, NUTRO, a Mars-owned natural pet food brand, 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 partner of NUTRO's Greater Ground program since it launched in December 2022. The program drives change for the health of soil 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 two-in-five people are not very familiar with the role soil plays in farming.
The docuseries is currently in production and will premier later this year.
For Coral Reef Awareness Week 2023, the Mars cat food brand SHEBA announced a new partnership to restore reefs in Hawai`i. 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 nonprofit 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 O`ahu and Maui.
With Hawai`i, the global Hope Grows program spans 30 restoration sites in 10 countries across five continents, including the Great Barrier Reef, the Maldives, Mexico and Kenya.
Mars is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to reimagine and redesign its packaging. Two of its efforts 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 recyclable in U.S. with the removal of the traditional plastic overwrap. This sustainability step eliminates 98 metric tons of plastic waste a year, according to the company.
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 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 10g lighter per jar, saving 374 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year.
Mars Food's Ben's Original brand has made a commitment to sourcing 100% 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 is a technique called "alternate wetting and drying," or AWD. AWD allows rice fields to dry out before irrigating, a 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.