Mars chairman calls for business leadership on climate change

The global pet care, food and confectionary company, Mars Inc, has released its plan to become an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business.

Inspired by Climate Week NYC (September 18 - 24) , Stephen Badger, Chairman of Mars, Inc released 'Sustainable in a Generation' plan under which it will invest $1 billion over the next few years to tackle urgent threats facing society.

In an article published in the Washington Post, Mr Badger said that one of the key characteristics of the Paris agreement is that it extends beyond governments to engage businesses.

“Corporations should seize this opportunity to have a seat at the table and do their part to address critical global challenges. In time, they will realize the returns on investment in a sustainable future.”

He said the carbon footprint of Mars Inc. exemplified the effect business has on the world.

“Our footprint is equivalent to that of a country roughly the size of Panama. With this scale comes responsibility. Mars, and companies like ours, must be as engaged as governments in delivering reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.”

Mr Badger said there was a sound business case for tackling issues such as climate change and poverty.

“First, investment in operating sustainably delivers cost savings. Mars is already capitalizing on the falling prices of renewable energy and the long-term cost savings of clean technology. This has helped to reduce the carbon emissions of our 150 factories around the world by 25 percent. We are already using enough renewable energy to make all our M&M’s. In fact, we now purchase enough renewable energy to fuel our entire operations in five countries and plan to make that 11 countries in 2018. All of this is delivered at the same cost, or lower, as fossil fuel.

“Second, for a company such as Mars that is dependent on agriculture, our investments are creating a more resilient and resource-efficient supply chain where smallholder farmers and others can thrive. By working with our suppliers to source raw materials in a way that lowers climate risk and creates opportunity for people, we can increase crop yields and ensure affordable ingredient supplies, reduce our impact on natural resources and ensure a generation of future farmers.

“Finally, there are rewards for doing the right thing. It makes us a more attractive partner to customers, governments and NGOs, and it ensures our relevance to consumers as well as current and future Mars associates. If we are to remain relevant for the next 100 years, we must drive an agenda that is forward-looking and focused, demonstrating what we stand for through our actions as a business.”

Mr Badger said he was making a call to action for everyone in business to “double down” in support of the Paris agreement and the sustainable- development goals.

“Business not only has a seat at the table; it has a vested interest in collaborating with everyone at the table. So let’s grab this opportunity with both hands.”

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