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Chocolate Giant Promises To Invest $1 Billion In Sustainability

Mars is going to be spending $1 billion on a new program called “Sustainability in a Generation.” Over the next couple years, the candy company famous for making Snickers and M&Ms will be aggressively reducing their carbon footprint. They hope that the moves will provide a strong indication that giant corporations have to work together to thwart climate change.

The $1 billion investment will cover a lot of ground as their goal is to reduce the carbon footprint by two-thirds of where it is today. According to Mars’ official website, they’ve already seen a one-fourth reduction since 2016 and will be eliminating 100 percent of their greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Ultimately, the company’s goal is to only source their products from where it makes sense and have enforced strong deforestation policies.

In terms of renewable energy, Mars already has multiple factories that are powered by wind farms. That portfolio will upgrade from the Brazil, the United States and United Kingdom, extending into 11 different countries. The expected countries that are seeing a renewable push, like Australia and China, are on the list.

While you may not think it while diving into a chocolate bar, there’s a lot of ingredients in Mars products that are farmed. Another segment of the “Sustainability in a Generation” program is to make sure these farmers are transitioning to sustainable sources. This includes being powered by renewable energy and making sure their process isn’t harming the environment around them.

Seafood under the Mars’ pet foods will also be from sustainable sources only. These are specific farms or environments that are managed efficiently. This movement has promoted the awareness of ecosystems being destroyed due to bycatching, meaning that unwanted fish from a different species are acquired. Instead of using various huge nets, catching fish is done by setting traps, harpooning, or other methods that prevent overfishing.

"We're a food business, which is based on agriculture, so we care a lot about the farmers who supply us around the world," Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability Officer of Mars, explained to Business Insider. “Climate science says many of those are going to be challenged as the world gets warmer. We care about this both on a societal level but also on a business level."

According to Forbes, Mars is America’s sixth-largest private company and recorded $35 billion in revenue for 2016. While they are mostly known for their candy, they also are the company behind Wrigley gum, Whiskas and Pedigree pet food, and Keurig-competitor FLAVIA. Considering Mars produces a lot of waste, such as individual candy wrappers and similar Keurig coffee cups, it’s great to see the company take major steps in removing their carbon footprint.

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