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Mars overhauls climate action to achieve net-zero while executive pay will be tied to emission reductions

October 10, 2021
Food & Drink

Mars is ramping up its efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its entire value chain by 2050, aligning with the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 °C.

The confectionery giant sets its new science-based climate target, including all emissions such as those created by agriculture and suppliers, through to emissions from consumers using brands like Ben’s Originals and M&M’s.

This updated pledge accelerates the existing long-term goals Mars has set to reduce absolute emissions from its entire business footprint, eliminating deforestation from its supply chain, and transitioning to 100% renewable energy.

It follows findings in the July Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which reinforced the urgency of achieving net-zero globally to prevent the worst impacts of global warming – a critical focus of next month’s COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow.

Mars is joining the Science Based Targets Initiative’s “Business Ambition for 1.5C pledge” and the Race to Zero, as the company accelerates its work to achieve net-zero emissions by focusing on:

Absolute emissions reductions across its entire GHG footprint, including all scope 3 emissions such as indirect emissions (e.g., business travel, retail customer emissions, use of sold products, and product end-of-life) and setting five-year milestones to drive action and track progress.
Eliminating deforestation in its supply chain – particularly in key raw materials that have the greatest impact on emissions.
Linking executive pay to delivering GHG value chain emission reductions.
Challenging 20,000+ suppliers in the Mars value chain to take climate action and to set meaningful targets.

Calling for collaboration
“The scale of global intervention must be bolder and faster. Climate change is already impacting the planet and people’s lives,” says Mars CEO Grant Reid. “To mitigate this real and tangible threat, the science tells us net-zero targets must be broad in their reach, capturing emissions across the entire value chain and plans need to have material, interim targets.”

“However, all too often, this simply isn’t the case – and the gaps that exist in some net-zero commitments risk undermining their credibility, and even more importantly, the climate action movement.”

“To deliver meaningful impact and ensure it is fit for purpose, our net-zero target covers our entire GHG footprint, from how we source materials through to how consumers use our products and, we’re mobilizing our entire business around taking action now and hitting interim targets every five years.

Delivering net zero
Mars recognizes the significance of this challenge, noting how it’s dependent on the collaboration of its associates, suppliers, customers, consumers and industry partners. “It’s so important that we work together to drive scale and reach,” Reid stresses.

Mars’ climate action on emissions dates back more than a decade with an existing commitment – set in 2009 – to achieve net zero in direct operations by 2040.

A full net-zero roadmap will be developed and published in 2022 to align with the anticipated Science-Based Target Initiative rules on net-zero commitments, expected by the end of this year.

Redesigning supply chains to stop deforestation
Mars is overhauling its supply chains to help stop deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems in five key raw materials identified as having the most significant risk: cocoa, beef, palm oil, pulp and paper and soy.

Action will include a continued shift away from purchasing ingredients based on cost alone and focus on enhanced transparency and traceability around the commodities it sources.

Mars recently delivered a deforestation-free palm oil supply chain, reducing the number of palm mills from 1,500 to less than 90 mills this year to enable the implementation of strict standards and satellite monitoring.

Additionally, it aims for all its high-forest risk commodities (beef, palm oil, pulp and paper, and soy) and cocoa to be deforestation-free by 2025.

Edited by Gaynor Selby


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