USA- Mars Incorporated, one of the largest privately held companies in the United States in terms of revenue, is investing in addressing climate change by prioritizing sustainability in its petcare business through various initiatives.
One of these initiatives involves NUTRO™, a natural pet food brand owned by Mars and founded nearly 100 years ago.
This year, NUTRO expanded its partnership with Kiss the Ground, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the healthy soil movement. Together, the organizations are producing an educational mini-docuseries that highlights stories of regeneration across the country.
Kiss the Ground has been a key partner of NUTRO’s Greater Ground program since it launched in December 2022.
The program drives change for soil health worldwide by amplifying, educating, and building support for actions that promote healthy soil.
In the early stages of the partnership, NUTRO conducted research with Morning Consult to gain a deeper understanding of how people perceive their food.
What they found was that while most consumers claim to be somewhat familiar with the process of food’s journey from farm to table/pet bowl, around 2 in 5 people are not very familiar with the role soil plays in farming.
Through storytelling, education, and advocacy, NUTRO is working diligently to bridge this evident awareness gap. The docuseries is currently in production and will premiere later this year.
Australian business champions renewable energy
Meanwhile, in the pursuit of sustainability, Mars Australia has revealed what it claims to be an Australian first and a world first for the company on its journey towards achieving net zero emissions across its food businesses.
Mars Australia Petcare recently launched Australia’s first commercial Electric Thermal Energy Storage (eTES) system at its Wodonga factory, according to the company.
The eTES system, supplied by Graphite Energy, uses low-cost renewable electricity to generate and store heat, which can then be used by the factory to generate 24/7 ‘green steam’.
According to a spokesperson for Mars, “The system cuts the factory’s gas usage by 20 percent, resulting in a corresponding decrease in emissions. It is the first major commercial application in Australia of a 100 percent renewable eTES system.”
Replacing up to 9,000 GJ/year of natural gas, the system is undergoing a ‘collaborative optimization’ program over the next 12 months.
The green steam facility follows other innovative initiatives by Mars in Australia, such as the introduction of paper-based packaging for Mars Wrigley.
In early 2021, Mars transitioned all of its Australian manufacturing facilities and sales offices to run on renewable electricity, resulting in a 75 percent reduction in carbon emissions at its manufacturing sites.
Mars advocates for sustainability of other sectors
Mars’ approach to sustainability has been holistic, with the company investing in initiatives that ensure sustainability across all of its businesses.
For example, Mars Food’s Ben’s Original brand has made a commitment to sourcing 100 percent of its rice from farmers who are working towards more sustainable and climate-smart rice production practices. This commitment aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, decrease unsustainable water usage, and increase profitability for farmers.
The most notable practice being adopted here is a technique called “alternate wetting and drying,” or AWD, which allows rice fields to dry out before irrigating, a groundbreaking method in an industry that has long relied on perpetually flooded fields, thus saving water.
Overall, Mars recently unveiled its innovative open-source action plan—the Mars Net Zero Roadmap—to accelerate action towards achieving Net Zero emissions.
The Mars plan includes a new target to cut carbon in half by 2030 across its full value chain – which translates into cutting carbon by 15 million metric tons.
“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, Mars Incorporated North America and Global President, Mars Ice Cream.