Ambitious and transparent: this is how Mars pioneers in sustainability
Mars is not just one of the largest food companies in the world, it is also one of the most progressive ones. With regard to sustainability, the company has followed a strong course for several years, set around three related ambitions, including far-reaching climate action. In the meantime, their green investments don’t lie: Mars resolutely chooses green energy, with Eneco as its partner.
“Our strategic choice for sustainability is all about mutual and simultaneous growth for ourselves and our stakeholders”, says Pierre Camé, General Manager Mars Belgium. It’s no coincidence that this economic approach is in line with the 7 sustainable trends that Eneco uses to point out the business benefits of sustainable innovation to companies.
Mars’s sustainability engagement is far-reaching: “We outspokenly commit ourselves to three related ambitions: a healthy planet, more human prosperity and chances, and improving well-being”, Pierre explains. “For that first ambition, we want to decrease our total ecological footprint, in line with what science deems necessary in order to keep our planet healthy. That includes climate action, thoughtful water management and land management. The plan in terms of climate action, ‘Sustainable in a Generation’, supports among other things investments in renewable energy and sustainable technology, as well as improvements in energy, water and waste efficiency.”
Substantial engagements require clear targets and intermediate positions.
And they reach them. Every year, Mars takes stock: for every sustainability pillar, the company shows where they are at that moment, and what is needed to reach the next target. The emission of greenhouse gasses, for example, has decreased since 2007 by 29.2%. “At Mars, we realise very well that such open communication is vital for the credibility”, Pierre continues. “That’s also how we support the third trend from the Eneco trend report: radical transparency.”
“The partnership with Eneco allows us to already use 100% renewable wind energy for all our Belgian activities.”
Pierre Camé, General Manager Mars Belgium.
Frontrunner in climate agreements
Of all of Mars’s efforts, sustainable energy consumption is probably at the top of the agenda. Pierre: “We want to reduce the total emissions of greenhouse gasses in our value chain with 27% by 2025 and with 67% by 2050. That’s how we want to contribute to keeping global warming under 2 degrees, as stated in the Paris climate agreement. Focusing on renewable energy is a crucial element in that. Belgium, Brazil, Lithuania, the UK and the US are already taking the lead in this with 100% energy from green, renewable electricity for all their Mars offices and factories.”
“That goal is fully in line with Eneco’s ‘Aim for zero’ trend. We take them extremely seriously, because the impact of climate change affects everybody: the farmers, our suppliers and clients, and the entire society.
As a global food company, we serve as a role model. At the 2015 climate conference in Paris, we strove to reach decisive measures. We will continue to actively support the climate agreements.” For Mars, wind energy is the way to ban CO2. 118 windmills in Texas supply all Mars energy in the US, and the Moy windmill park in the Scottish Highlands – an Eneco project – does the same for all UK activities, while a similar project is in the pipeline in Mexico. “We are definitely a match in Belgium”, Pierre mentions. “The recent partnership with Eneco allows us to use 100% renewable energy for all our Belgian
activities: both our offices in Brussels and our Uncle Ben’s factory in Olen. We are proud that Belgium has transitioned to renewable wind energy as one of the first countries.”
“There is a lot of common ground between the sustainable principles of Mars and our sustainability trends in retail.”
Christian Coppieters, Key Account Manager at Eneco
Partnerships through the entire chain
If the story of Mars proves one thing, it’s that companies don’t achieve such impressive results by themselves. Cooperation is key. For example, Mars integrates sustainable principles in the entire delivery chain, works hard on partnerships with scientific institutions and engages other companies to help shake the political tree.
When it comes to the energy supply, Mars also can’t do without partners with similar engagements. “When you compare Mars’s sustainable principles and our sustainability trends, you see a lot of common ground”, states Christian Coppieters, Key Account Manager at Eneco. “It’s no wonder that we are proud of our cooperation. But we have another reason to tell this story. We notice that good examples are very inspiring. More and more Belgian entrepreneurs start realising that sustainable innovation isn’t a challenge, but an opportunity.”