There’s a lot of “greenwashing” in today’s marketplace. Some brands claim to be eco-friendly in their marketing but don’t back it up with measurable actions. To authentically stand behind sustainability commitments, you must take a hard look at your own supply chain footprint, formalize a strategy and invest time and resources to see it through. This is especially important as consumers today are armed with information through the web and can quickly spot a brand that doesn’t walk its talk.
Mars Inc is a great example of a company that’s putting in the work to tackle sustainability. As one of the largest privately owned businesses on the planet, it has committed $1 billion to becoming “Sustainable in a Generation.”
The investment will fund target-based greenhouse gas reductions, economic development and female empowerment initiatives. The company is also investing in health and environmental research, which helps build a better world and address environmental issues.
Why are they investing so much money in sustainability? “Mars has been in business for four generations and intends to be for the next four generations,” Grant Reid, Mars’ CEO, declared in 2017.
The owner of Snickers and M&Ms is especially focused on climate change. Mars is joining the global conversation by reducing emissions in accordance with the science based 2°C warming target set by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC). The chocolate company is also working towards the Sustainable Development Goals. By aligning with global standards, Mars is authenticating its efforts and gaining guidance. Such business practices lend valuable lessons to entrepreneurs and executives looking to build a sustainable business.
Here are top lessons from Mars Inc on how to run a sustainable business:
Measure your footprint:
As Peter Drucker said, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Before you dive into sustainability improvements, it’s important to get benchmark where you are. Look at the hard numbers. Identify the areas that need the most attention.
In 2015, an audit showed that Mars’ had a footprint of 33 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year. That’s more than double the annual total of Costa Rica for that year. After analyzing the data, Mars found that as much as 80% of its emissions originate from “agriculture and land use change.”
By measuring and monitoring climate impacts, Mars is able to pinpoint where to start and where it wants to go in terms of sustainability.