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Mars to spend $1 billion on fixing “broken” supply chains

Grant ReidMars CEO and president Grant Reid has called for “transformational” change to fix “broken” global supply chains, saying that businesses have not done enough to address poverty and climate change.

The executive overseeing the M&Ms, Skittles, Pedigree, Whiskas, Twix and Dolmio brands told a UN General Assembly yesterday that Mars will use its platform to usher in broad-based change under a new “sustainable in a generation” plan, which will see almost $1 billion invested over the next few years in a range of programs.

“If we are to help deliver on the targets agreed in Paris and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, there has to be a huge step change. While many companies have been working on being more sustainable, the current level of progress is nowhere near enough,” Reid told the Climate Week gathering in New York.

“Mars has been in business for four generations and intends to be for the next four generations. The only way that will happen is if we do things differently to ensure that the planet is healthy and all people in our extended supply chains have the opportunity to thrive. We must work together, because the engine of global business – its supply chain – is broken, and requires transformational, cross-industry collaboration to fix it.”

The plan focuses on areas where Mars can impact change on some of the world’s biggest problems, as defined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and will involve the utilisation of the M&Ms brand to engage customers into taking action to address climate change.

Broadly, the plan includes provisions for a healthy planet, focusing on climate action; thriving people, a goal to “meaningfully” improve the lives of one million working people in its value chain; and a commitment to “nourishing well-being”, which aims to promote healthier habits among consumers.

WATCH: Mars CEO details sustainability commitment.

Related initiatives include a commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions across its value chain by 67 per cent by 2050, a livelihoods fund for family farming in poverty-stricken areas, and a renewed focus on food safety and security throughout its business.

“This plan is about not just doing better, but doing what’s necessary. We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do but also because it’s good business. Creating mutual benefits for the people in our supply chain, and mitigating our impact on the environment are sound business choices. We also know that increasingly our consumers care about these issues as much as we do,” Reid said.

Mars will roll-out renewable energy generation to additional markets in 2018, after moving to source 100 per cent of the power it uses in the US and UK from sustainable sources. Mars chief sustainability and health and wellbeing officer, Barry Parkin, said the giant will look to push the boundaries on sustainability in the coming year.

“Doing what’s right, not just doing better, is at the very core of our new plan. It’s about pushing the boundaries and extending our bold ambitions across our extended supply chain. When we do that, and when others join us, only then will we have the greatest impact,” he said.

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