'Our ambitions go beyond risk mitigation': Mars CEO on fighting climate change

The brand has vowed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations.

The '#PledgeForPlanet' mural lit up NYC this week
The '#PledgeForPlanet' mural lit up NYC this week

Mars is stepping up to the global climate plate. 

The company is vowing to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its direct operations in line with the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement – to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Its "#PledgeForPlanet" initiative is part of the ongoing Mars push – first announced a decade ago – to achieve 100 percent renewable energy in its operations by 2040. 

Mars CEO Grant F. Reid said: "Climate change is a real and tangible threat to society. For example, in our business, we already see it in the risk to livelihoods for smallholder farmers who provide most of our raw ingredients.

"Risks to the resiliency and sustainability of our supply chain and the future of the farmers we work with is top of mind. But, as a family business that thinks in generations and aspires to make a positive difference in the world, our responsibilities and our ambitions go beyond risk mitigation. We are committed to doing our part for the good of the planet."

Today, Mars sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources – 100 percent in countries including the U.S., U.K., Mexico and soon, Australia. 

Mars is calling on all its suppliers to participate through programming such as setting science-based targets, signing on to The Climate Group’s RE100, and embracing a future with renewable energy at the center of plans for direct operations. Olam, a Mars supplier of cocoa and palm oil, has already signed on.

Actress and singer Victoria Justice, who has previously performed at the Moral Action on Climate Justice Rally and partnered with the UN Foundation, is helping to kick off#PledgeForPlanet by making her own pledge to the planet and signing a public mural commissioned by Mars.

She said: "Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our current generation but simple actions can make a large impact. That’s why I’m joining Mars in making my own pledge to the planet, and using my voice to urge people around the world to do the same. We can all play a role in protecting our planet for tomorrow, and for future generations to come."

The mural, designed by artist Steven Harrington, illustrates what the world could look like if we all took urgent climate action to keep the planet from warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius. It will be on public display in the heart of New York City during Climate Week at Bryant Park before moving to M&M'S World Times Square.

Andy Pharoah, VP for corporate affairs, sustainability and strategic initiatives at Mars, added: "We launched our Pledge For Planet initiative because we’re not only accelerating climate action within our business, but we also want to use our voice to encourage our suppliers, our associates and people around the world to do the same. We’ve gone well past demand for businesses and government to do more. There’s a clear expectation we will address climate change and the sustainability challenges facing our planet.

"When we think about the world we want to see tomorrow, we can’t do it alone. I believe strongly that climate action offers a powerful opportunity for business to lead on these critical issues and to collaborate with consumers in a meaningful way to create our future. That is a huge prize -- to work together and take collective action today - and to create a thriving planet for future generations. We can make a difference."

This article first appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign

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