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Mars loves Earth | Mars bar aims for carbon neutrality in UK and Ireland by 2023

Mon 22 Nov 2021 | 10:47 am GMT
Rob Hutchins | Products of Change Writer

Mars bar aims to become carbon neutral by 2023

The global Mars corporation has detailed new plans to make all of its iconic Mars bars sold in the UK and Ireland certified carbon neutral by January 2023. Launched under the banner Mars loves Earth, the firm’s pledge will see its more than 200 million bars sold in the UK and Ireland each year become carbon neutral. This will be achieved in part  by reducing the number of miles its products travel, as well as addressing its agricultural supply chains. The amount of carbon reduced in the process is expected to be the rough equivalent to charging more than 13 billion smartphones, or the same amount of carbon sequestered by around 135,000 acres of forest in a year. The new pledge will also include Mars bars sold in Canada and, according to the firm, represents ‘tangible climate action’ less than one month after the team revealed its commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its full value chain by 2050. Adam Grant, general manager, Mars Wrigley UK, said: “At Mars, we are committed to taking the critical actions needed to address the health and sustainability of our planet, and firmly believe that engaging you – the consumer – in the fight against climate change is an imperative.” Across its UK and Ireland operations, Mars has already reduced its carbon footprint by 67 per cent since 2015. Among the measures taken on a local level is Mars’ move to producing its Mars bar in a factory that sources 100 per cent renewable electricity. Next year, the company will be ‘removing a million miles from the roads’ through a new logistics programme, delivering Mars bars to retail in a ‘more sustainable way.’ The team has also outlined plans to tackle deforestation, address land use, and transform how it sources raw materials. “As a result of supercharging our efforts to sustainably transform supply chain agricultural practices, namely cocoa and cows (and their burps), the Mars bar will see a carbon footprint reduction of over 20 per cent in the UK, Ireland, and Canada by 2023,” continued Grant. “This includes using satellite data to geomap cocoa farms and accelerated partnerships with suppliers to produce dairy more sustainably.” Mars has given the example that by the end of 2022, 100 per cent of the suppliers providing dairy for the Mars bar will have a programme to reduce their on-farm greenhouse gas impacts, from feed to using low emission manure application technology. Any emissions that cannot be eliminated will be offset by high quality carbon removal through reforestation and land restoration. “We will work with an independent auditor to certify the Mars bar as carbon neutral and will be adhering to the PAS 2060 standard for carbon neutrality, which provides radical transparency and is widely considered to be the leading standard of carbon neutral specification,” said Grant. “We’re proud that the Mars bar will be carbon neutral in the UK, Ireland, and Canada by 2023, but we’re clear that the job isn’t done, and it is certainly not time to down tools. We know that we must continue to make purposeful climate interventions. And we know that to create a world tomorrow where the planet it healthy, we must continue to take bold action. And we will.”
A Mars mural details the company's commitment to sustainability in a colourful showcase of the actions it is taking.
The 2023 goal for Mars bars in the UK, Ireland, and Canada is part of a wider sustainability project launched by Mars back in 2017. Called the Mars Sustainable in a Generation Plan, the programme launched with an initial $1 billion investment in order to ‘transform how it does business.’ Under that plan, Mars is working to improve the lives of people in communities where it sources its materials, as well as the lives of its associates, customers, and pets. Efforts include expanding its use of renewable energy, helping its farmers cut water use while increasing crop yield, working to eliminate deforestation, and evolving its product packaging to support a circular economy. Mars’ goal is to develop packaging that is 100 per cent reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025 and decrease virgin plastic use by 25 per cent by 2025. Barry Parkin, chief procurement and sustainability officer at Mars, said: “Our plan is built on what is right, not what is easy. It is science-based and in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”
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