The world’s largest chocolate maker is taking climate change into its own hands.
Mars, the maker of Snickers, Twix, and M&Ms, has pledged to invest $1 billion over the next few years to fight climate change. The sustainability drive includes investment in renewable energy, food sourcing, cross-industry action groups, and farmers.
The company has previously taken several steps in its efforts to become more sustainable, and wind farms in Texas and Scotland already generate enough to power U.S. and U.K. Mars operations. In the new announcement, Mars pledged to add wind and solar farms to another nine countries by 2018. It also promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 27% by 2025 and 67% by 2050.
Grant Reid, CEO of Mars, explained the rationale behind the investment, noting that “most scientists are saying there’s less than a 5% chance we will hit Paris agreement goals…which is catastrophic for the planet.” He argued that the global supply chain is broken, requiring “transformational, cross-industry collaboration” to fix it.
Mars, which employs 80,000 people worldwide, relies on farmers to produce the raw materials for its products. With this in mind, Mars isn’t just “doing this because it's the right thing to do but also because it's good business,” Reid explained.
Barry Parkin, Mars’ Chief Sustainability Officer, warned that the consequences of inaction include “more extreme weather events...causing significant challenges and hardships in specific places around the world, whether that’s oceans rising or crops not growing successfully.” “We believe in the scientific view of climate science and the need for collective action," he added.
Mars was one of the companies that signed a letter in June urging President Trump not to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. The announcement of the “Sustainability in a Generation” plan comes ahead of the UN General Assembly and Climate Week, both to be held in New York later this month. Reid hopes the announcement will serve as a “call to action” to get other companies to step up their own efforts to combat climate change.
The $35 billion company plans to push the message via a M&Ms advertising campaign, which will feature the mascots holding up windmills.