Sustainability Initiatives In India
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Globally Mars has always been at the forefront of promoting ‘Sustainability’ across its business verticals. From being committed to sustainable sourcing of raw materials, to reducing the environmental footprint, from promoting a sustainable supply chain, to creating a positive impact on the communities, Mars’ ‘Sustainable in a Generation’ commitments are dedicated towards creating a Healthy Planet, Thriving Community and Nourishing Well-being.

Healthy Planet: Globally, we have set a goal to eliminate 100% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from direct operations by 2040. Within the company’s own operations, Mars is investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that allow us to tackle emissions at scale.

In India, we have several examples of how we are bringing this global commitment to life. As one example, our Mars Wrigley Confectionery factory in Pune was built to achieve LEED Gold Certification and features ground-level installation of a grid-connected solar power system, with a 500 kilowatt peak. The 1.4 acre solar garden features 1,540 panels and will enable a reduction of about 350 metric tons of CO2 per year – providing a great source of alternate, green energy.

Other Highlights include

  • Energy Saving: Elimination of electricity driven conveyors with gravity chutes, automations in packaging areas, optimization of process equipment idle run time, shift to LED lighting, power factor improvement, use of energy monitoring system, implementation of steam audit recommendations and the use of Bio mass boilers
  • Water Saving: Our manufacturing sites are all Zero Water Discharge facilities and we continue to save Water through CIP (Continuous Improvement Plan). We recycle and reuse water for gardening and have initiated rain water harvesting.
  • Zero Landfill Waste: Waste reduction from operations, solid waste reuse as fish feed and reuse of sludge discharge from effluent treatment plant as manure and alternate fuel at cement kilns helped in achieving zero landfill waste in 2015. This has been maintained ever since.

 

Thriving People: With the support of partners around the world, Mars engages farmers and their families to drive sustainable farming practices across our supply chains. We have a strong commitment to responsible and sustainable sourcing, with a primary objective of helping farmers increase their yields and incomes through better access to improved planting materials and training.

For both our local and global production, India is an important sourcing origin for Mars ingredients, including mint, sugar, peanuts, and rice.

  • Mint: India produces about 80 percent of the world’s mint supply, which is grown by as many as 1 million smallholder farmers. Many of these farmers are primarily subsistence farmers, making mint a valuable cash crop that provides a critical source of income. However, mint yields are declining, and total household income is low

    Since 2013, we’ve listened to thousands of farmers from dozens of villages to learn how to best support them and the future of the Indian mint industry. Informed by these insights, and with the collaboration our partners, we established the Shubh Mint program in 2017. The goal of the program is to help 20,000 mint farmers in Barabanki, Utter Pradesh to improve yields through adoption of good agricultural practices, thereby doubling their incomes from mint, and reducing water use by 30% by 2021. To do this, our partner Agribusiness Systems International and their local extension staff are delivering training to farmers, informed by the Mentha Arvensis Compendium – the first guide on better mint growing practices that we funded in 2015. Our program brings farmers together to learn about planting techniques, irrigation, soil health and intercropping, while providing a platform to share lessons learned.

    In addition, since 2013, Mars has partnered with Pratham, the largest non-governmental education organization in India, to provide quality education to children in some of the largest Indian mint-producing regions. Together, we are increasing the number of kids in schools and encouraging parents to take an active part in their children’s education.

  • Sugar: In June 2017, Mars Wrigley Confectionery joined a multi-stakeholder partnership with Solidaridad, the International Finance Corporation, Olam, and PepsiCo to improve sugarcane cultivation in Maharashtra. Through capacity building and strengthened extension services, the aim of this collective undertaking is to empower farmers by promoting climate smart agricultural practices, with the goal of improving yields and livelihoods.

    Mars’ specific contribution to this initiative was enabling in-depth capacity building for 600 lead sugar farmers at the Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI), in Maharashtra. Under this training, farmers were taught specific methods on climate smart agriculture practices related to sugarcane production. The farmers that attended this training returned back to their villages and were each responsible for training 10-15 farmers in their area. Through direct training of the lead farmers and their training efforts back home, the project expects to reach around 12,000 farmers. As an early sign of impact, trained farmers shared that they expect their yields to improve from 40-45 tons per acre to 60 tons per acre after applying what they had learned to their crop this year.

  • Peanuts: India is the world’s second biggest peanut producing country and has the largest peanut acreage in the world. Peanut production in India, however, faces some significant challenges that have hindered its sourcing potential. These include low yields, a supply chain that limits connectedness to the farm, limited extension support, and lack of incentives for food quality and safety that make aflatoxin a major concern. To begin to help address these challenges, Mars Wrigley Confectionery plans to launch an initiative which will help peanut farmers in Gujarat improve productivity through training, thereby delivering higher quality peanuts, and improving farmer incomes.

  • Rice: Over the past few years, Mars Food, has been on a journey to source its rice more sustainably, and in 2015, we partnered with the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) to launch the first-ever global standard for sustainable rice, in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute and UN Environment. It is our ambition to source 100 percent of our rice from farmers working toward the SRP standard by 2020.

    In most of the regions where we source our rice, including India, we’re developing farmer partnerships to create fully transparent and traceable supply chains, with measurable benefits to both farmers and the environment. For instance, in 2017, Indian farmers taking part in our programs achieved 6% higher yields and 16% higher income than conventional farmers. In addition, we’ve started a program to reduce the amount of water used by Indian rice farmers, building on our experience in other rice growing regions.

  • Nourishing Wellbeing: Our diverse portfolio in India – including confectionery treats, dinnertime foods, high nutrition snacks, and pet food – ensures there is a product to meet the tastes and preferences of every consumer, which they can feel confident about feeding their families and pets.

    Across our human food portfolio, we are committed to helping consumers make informed choices about how our products can support their wellbeing goals and fit within a balanced diet. Beyond providing required nutrition and ingredient information, Mars has committed globally to providing Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) labeling – including calories on front-of-pack – across our chocolate, confectionery and food products.

    In addition, we take very seriously the interaction we have through our brands with millions of consumers and are proud to be a leader in setting standards of responsible marketing. First launched in 2007, the Mars Marketing Code (MMC) sets out these standards, including our commitment to not market to children under 12 years of age. To amplify these commitments locally, Mars in 2010 signed the India Pledge to extend this voluntary self-regulation in support of Indian consumers and children.

    Within Mars Wrigley Confectionery, we have globally committed that our products will not exceed 250 calories per portion. In addition, to make our products price accessible to Indian consumers, we offer even smaller portion sizes. In fact, all Mars Chocolate brands in India are below 125 Kcal.

    Beyond portion size, we have taken additional steps to tailor our products for the Indian market. For instance, in 2013, we dedicated R&D resources to develop an egg-free recipe to introduce SNICKERS® with the green dot seal – meeting the needs of a growing vegetarian consumer base. Further, we have tailored our local chocolate recipe to maintain its quality in India’s high temperatures, while continuing to deliver a delicious, real chocolate experience to our consumers.

    Within Mars Food, we launched in 2016 a global Health & Wellbeing Ambition to Deliver One Billion More Healthy Meals Shared on Dinner Tables around the World by 2021. We are using World Health Organization nutrition recommendations for calories, sodium, added sugar, and fats to guide our ongoing product reformulation. In addition, all of our tomato-based cooking sauces – such as the DOLMIO® brand which launched in India in 2017 – deliver at least one serving of fruits/vegetables per portion.

    In 2016 Mars signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tata Trusts, one of India’s oldest leading philanthropic organizations working to improve the quality of life of the communities it serves. Our partnership focuses on advancing agriculture development, addressing nutrition gaps and improving food safety in India.

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