Last year, 64 percent of CEOs increased their business’ investment in corporate social responsibility. Thanks to new technology and the internet, along with advancements in science and medicine, companies have become more informed about their social and environmental impact. Armed with the evidence needed to change business practices for the greater good of employees, consumers, and the environment, there has never been a better time to put this knowledge and these insights into action.
From climate change to poverty, these are trying times. But these challenges are not insurmountable. If companies, countries, and citizens all come together in search of attainable solutions, this generation can leave this planet better than we found it.
Governments across the world have collaborated to create initiatives like the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement in an effort to ensure that future generations can enjoy a high quality of life. If we fail to meet the goals set by these agreements, we could face dire consequences such as more frequent, stronger hurricanes and unmanageably high sea levels.
Now that those frameworks are in place, addressing the often uncomfortable topic of poverty is also a pressing concern that demands immediate attention. More than 1.3 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day, which is considered extreme poverty. Many of the estimated 200 million smallholder farmers who are producing food within the world’s supply chains are also living in poverty, so the role of businesses operating in these industries is critical in order to drive systemic change.
As consumers become more socially and environmentally conscious and demand more from the companies that make the products that they buy, businesses and brands are rallying to make lasting contributions to our planet, its people, and their overall wellbeing.
Mars is a part of that movement and has launched its Sustainable in a Generation Plan, which focuses on three interconnected ambitions essential to driving sustainable growth:
Humanity’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have changed the composition of our atmosphere and the climate that surrounds us. Around the world, people are beginning to feel the effects, from increased average and extreme temperatures, to changes in rainfall patterns, to more severe and less predictable storms.
Science tells us that to avoid the worst consequences, we should limit global warming to less than the two degrees Celsius threshold outlined in the Paris Agreement.
Mars has been working on cutting its own emissions for many years and in 2015 achieved its interim target of reducing its GHG emissions from its direct operations by 25 percent. While Mars has set a goal to eliminate 100 percent of its GHG emissions from its direct supply chain by 2014, the business recently announced that it will go even further, setting its sights on a much bigger goal. Mars has begun focusing not just on its direct operations, but its whole value chain, seeking to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by 27 percent by 2025, and 67 percent in the 25 years following.
Mars has also tracked all of the water sources along its supply chain in order to pinpoint problem areas along the way. The organization plans to cut its unsustainable water sources in half by 2025, and completely eliminate them in the long term.
The company is also working with farmers to make better use of their land through innovative farming techniques and training, allowing them to increase their yields without increasing their footprint.
The environment is not the only thing that needs to be sustained; the careers and livelihoods of workers need to be nurtured, as well.
Millions of people around the world work hard every day producing and selling products that many millions of consumers enjoy – from the rice we cook with at meal times, to the gum we chew, to the candy we enjoy as a treat, to the food we feed our pets. We will only continue to have secure and sustainable access to these crops if the farmers cultivating them see farming as an attractive career that will allow them to earn a sufficient income and have a decent standard of living.
Mars believes everyone touched by its business should have the opportunity to be successful. When people thrive, they are more productive and better able to meet their own needs, as well as the needs of their families and communities.
Doing good is about looking after everyone across the supply chain, from the farmers at the start of it, to the consumers at the end of it. Businesses like Mars are increasingly focused on helping consumers make informed choices about the products they consume while improving their own products, increasing choice, and investing into research to advance food safety and security.
Mars’ goal is to advance science, innovation, and marketing in ways that help billions of people and their pets lead healthier, happier lives.
Mars is committed to offering more nutritious foods including vegetables, fruits and wholegrain, and will continue to dial back sugar and sodium. The company will also be encouraging families to come together at dinner times, highlighting the importance of togetherness and familial bonds in an increasingly digital world.
Familial bonds aren’t just between humans either; they’re also about our relationship with pets. As a leader in pet care, Mars is creating a better world for pets through advanced nutrition, veterinary care, and through research to better understand the benefits of animal and human interaction.
By helping to protect the planet and helping its people and pets to thrive, Mars and other companies all over the world are using their size and scale to make a positive impact.
In the coming years, we can expect to see even more of this good work from companies coming together in support of a better future for the planet and its people.
Join the conversation with #GenerationForChange and learn more about how you can make a difference.