Snacks & Candy

Mars to Cut Emissions by 50% by 2030, Reach Net Zero by 2050

Company will focus on packaging, soil regeneration, coral reef restoration, climate-smart crop production
Mars sustainability
Photograph: Mars, Shutterstock

Mars is targeting to cut carbon in half by 2030 across its full value chain from a 2015 baseline, which translates into cutting carbon by 15 million metric tons, the equivalent to taking nearly 3 million cars off American roads and highways. By 2050, the candy company aims to achieve net zero emissions, meaning greenhouse gases are significantly reduced while ensuring that any other emissions that can’t be eliminated are balanced by removals.

The company peaked emissions in 2018 and has reduced greenhouse gases in absolute terms by 8% or 2.6 million metric tons against a 2015 baseline, while growing the business 60% during that time.

These goals are a part of Mars’ Net Zero Roadmap. As part of the action plan, Mars will invest more than $1 billion over the next three years and continue to commit financial resources as needed until Net Zero is achieved.

“Our entire Mars business in the U.S and around the world is committed to tackling climate change to help people, pets and the planet thrive—from manufacturing your favorite treats, foods and snacks, to your pet’s nutrition and veterinary care,” said Anton Vincent, president of Mars Incorporated North America and global president of Mars Ice Cream. “I am proud that our teams across pet care, veterinary health and snacking and food are committed to revitalizing the planet through positive impact on the environment at every touchpoint—ingredients like peanuts for Snickers, rice for Ben’s Original and our Sheba brand’s dedication to restoring the ocean’s vast coral reefs.”

Research from Ipsos, a market research company, revealed that 47% of American adults think the responsibility to make change that influences climate change lies with multi-national businesses, like Mars.

The Ipsos study showed found that despite current difficult economic circumstances, on average, 69% of adults across the world’s seven largest economies think businesses should focus the same amount (32%) or more (37%) on tackling climate change rather than economic challenges. The Mars-commissioned research involved 14,468 people in the United States, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Germany, France and India.

“We cannot wait for the economy to improve; we must push forward with investments that protect our business today and in the future,” said Poul Weihrauch, CEO of Mars. “As I have said before, profit and purpose are not enemies. Investment in climate is not a trade-off between planet and productivity, or between environment and employment. Consumers and our Associates clearly want both – and so do we. Investing in emissions reductions is sound business policy, it is achievable, affordable, and it is absolutely necessary.”

Packaging is an essential part of the journey to get products into the homes of consumers—but in a perfect world, that packaging material never becomes waste. Instead, it’s recycled, reused or composted.

That’s why Mars, the maker of some of the world’s most well-known treats and snacks, is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to reimagine and redesign its packaging. 

Two innovations in this area include improved club jars for M&M’s, Starburst, Skittles and theater boxes for M&M’s.

M&M’s theater boxes are now fully recyclable in the United States with the removal of the traditional plastic overwrap. This sustainability step eliminates 98 metric tons of plastic waste a year, equal to the weight of a space shuttle headed into orbit.

Mars also partnered with packaging supplier Berry Global to launch new club jars that contain 15% recycled content, replacing about 300 tons of virgin plastic per year. The easy-grip square jars are produced at Berry’s manufacturing facility, using a single-pellet, food-grade resin to assure a clean, consistent packaging material sourced from mechanical recycling. In addition to including recycled materials, the jar itself is also widely recyclable.

Available in three sizes, the new jars offer the same look and feel as previous jars. The two larger sizes are 10 grams lighter per jar, saving 374 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. Those carbon dioxide savings are equivalent to:

  • 42,084 gallons of gasoline consumed
  • 45,494,350 smartphones charged
  • 72.8 homes’ electricity use for one year

The Mars initiative also addresses soil, oceans and crops.

Nutro, a Mars-owned natural pet food brand, expanded its partnership with Kiss the Ground, a nonprofit focused on the healthy soil movement, and the organizations are producing an educational mini docuseries that highlights stories of regeneration across the country.

For Coral Reef Awareness Week 2023, the Mars cat food brand Sheba announced a new partnership to restore reefs in Hawaii.

And Mars Food’s Ben’s Original brand has made a commitment to sourcing 100% of its rice from farmers working toward more sustainable and climate-smart rice production practices.

With $40 billion in annual sales, McLean, Va.-based Mars produces brands including Dove, Extra, M&M’s, Milky Way, Snickers, Twix, Orbit, Pedigree, Royal Canin, Skittles, Ben’s Original, Whiskas, Cocoavia and 5.

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