Diversified confectionery and foods leader Mars Incorporated, McLean, Va., outlined some of its recent health and wellness goals and activities, in conjunction with the company’s fourth annual “Principles in Action” summary report.

The report details Mars’ approach to business—including the challenges it shares with society and its commitment to the “Mars Five Principles.” Officials say these goals include a target for the private, family-owned business to eliminate all fossil fuel energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from its direct operations by 2040.

"As a society, we are faced with a range of daunting global challenges.  At Mars we want to drive positive change and meaningful difference by investing in sustainable choices that will create benefits for the long-term, and collaborate on challenges we share with the wider community," says Paul S. Michaels, co-president.  "We know that people want to hear more about what we are doing to make a difference.  This includes being transparent about areas where we need to work harder or take a different approach.

“This summary is intended to be a clear-eyed view of both successes and gaps yet to be filled,” he continues. “For example, the building of Mesquite Creek wind farm in Texas will generate energy from renewable sources equivalent to the electricity requirements of our entire U.S. operations. But, we will have to look at significant additional interventions to achieve our 2040 goal of eliminating greenhouse gases from our operations."

Two ingredient related matters involve Mars’ work toward a sustainable supply chain and its health and wellness efforts.

Officials say Mars shares concerns about the growing population and rising obesity levels and it pledged to ensure that all of its single-serve chocolate products are at or below 250 calories per portion by the end of 2013. Now Mars will accelerate its efforts to ensure that 100% of its chocolate portfolio (rather than the current 95%), meets this target.  Mars says it also is continuing its commitment to GDA (guideline daily amount) nutritional labeling across its confectionery and food products. 

In January 2014, Mars invited 11 expert stakeholders to a workshop on deforestation to help develop a vision and strategy for a deforestation policy. Mars' new policy was launched in March 2014, prioritizing palm oil, beef, paper and pulp, and soy.  Additionally, by end of 2015, Mars is committed to a fully traceable palm oil supply chain. 

Officials also note that Mars is now the world's largest purchaser of cocoa from certified sources – increasing its purchase of certified cocoa to 30% of total volumes towards its goal of 100% certified cocoa by 2020.

Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion from six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience. It employs more than 75,000 associates worldwide.