Mars CEO: transformational business change needed, including radical rethink on supply chains
Mars CEO Grant F. Reid has said business needs to lead "transformational change" in order to tackle the most urgent threats facing the planet and its people, including a radical overhaul of supply chains.
Speaking ahead of this month's UN General Assembly and Climate Week in New York, Mr. Reid said the responsibility had never been greater for industry: "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."
"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."
Reid said that when tackling Greenhouse Gas emissions for example, many businesses, including Mars, have made good progress on the impact of their own direct operations, but haven't made enough progress in their broader supply chains.
He added that efforts to address poverty and human rights down the global supply chain have been well-intentioned, but have not yielded satisfactory progress.
"Data and connectivity are helping us get smarter about our impact every year. Today, climate science is clear and we understand the environmental and social challenges in our supply chain better than ever before. With this knowledge, it is clear that the scale of intervention needs to be much bolder – now is the time for business to reassess its role and responsibility in the face of the evidence."
As part of its response to these challenges, Mars today announced its "Sustainable in a Generation Plan." The plan includes a set of far-reaching goals and ambitions underpinned by science and a determination to drive impact throughout the extended supply chain. To accelerate progress, Mars will invest approximately $1bn in its Sustainable in a Generation Plan.
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. The Sustainable in a Generation Plan outlines three interconnected ambitions:
Healthy Planet – with an ambition to reduce environmental impacts in line with what science says is necessary to keep the planet healthy – focusing on climate action, water stewardship and land management. For example, Mars has announced a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain by 67% by 2050 – dramatically expanding on previous goals to reduce GHGs in its operations.
Thriving People – with an ambition to meaningfully improve the working lives of one million people in its value chain to enable them to thrive – focusing on increasing income, respecting human rights and unlocking opportunities for women. For example, Mars hass launched the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming to foster sustainability and poverty reduction in extended supply chains and the Farmer Income Lab, a collaborative "think-do tank" focused on generating the missing insights needed to eradicate smallholder poverty.
Nourishing Wellbeing – with an ambition to advance science, innovation and marketing in ways that help billions of people and their pets lead healthier, happier lives. This continues on its current efforts around food safety and security; product and ingredient renovation; and responsible marketing.