ITL #582 Progress over perfection: why action is needed to drive positive change in 2024

2 weeks, 3 days ago

(Comments)


Mars has broken the link between the growth of its business and the growth of its carbon footprint. By Andy Pharoah.



In drafting a letter titled ‘The Objective of the Company,’ Forrest Mars, Sr. provided Mars, Incorporated with a focus on the mutuality of service and benefits for a list of audiences that we would now call stakeholders. It included consumers, customers, employees, governments, suppliers, shareholders and even competitors. That was in 1947 — close to 80 years ago. 

As a result of such a prescient foundation, Mars has been focused on meeting the societal expectation that companies should do more than be financially successful and have a broad measure of success.  We don’t always do it perfectly, but it is always our objective and very much fits with current attitudes. 

For example, a recent Ipsos survey commissioned by the company found that on average, 69% of adults across the world’s seven largest economies think a business’ focus on tackling climate change should be equal to or greater than tackling economic challenges. For many, this is a change in thinking towards a business model where positive actions complement rather than compromise growth.

As corporate affairs professionals, it is partly our responsibility to establish what this looks like for our companies and stakeholders to ensure we are not setting inconsequential objectives. A recent UN (United Nations) report states that predicted 2030 emissions must be reduced by at least 28-42% compared to current policy scenarios to reach the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to 2°C and 1.5°C, respectively. This shows how important it is to our world for companies to take accelerated and achievable steps toward carbon neutrality.

To achieve this, companies need a mindset shift where success is the definition of progress rather than lofty goals happening in the distant future. At Mars, our actions are based on meaningful and measurable progress and conducting business in a manner that has a positive impact for people and the planet without ever compromising on sound financial performance.

Growing our business while reducing emissions

Reducing carbon emissions is at the forefront of our purpose-led sustainability strategy, reflecting the pressing need for businesses to take decisive action against climate change. Over 90% of our footprint is in Scope 3 emissions, with the largest amount in agriculture and land use change.

We are holding ourselves accountable by introducing the Mars Net Zero Roadmap, which sets out a clear path to successfully keeping our promises. This open-source action plan was published to accelerate action towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050, including a new target to cut emissions in half by 2030, compared to a baseline from 2015, across all three scopes of the value chain. 

We have broken the link between the growth of our business and the growth of our carbon footprint.  Our GHG emissions are now substantially lower than our 2015 baseline with a business that is 60% bigger. We have a strong commitment to shaping a sustainable future—one where responsible business growth coexists with a reduction in our environmental footprint. 

Action beyond words

Investing time and money into positive action does not mean a trade-off for business growth. At Mars, we look at decisions through the lens of creating change over generations, not what can be achieved in the next quarter. It’s why our current financial three-year plan includes investing $1 billion (about $3 per person in the US) to create a lower carbon value chain across our businesses.

For example, we recently began a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Finance Earth to invest in the improvement of fisheries. The launch of the Chile Multi-species Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) is the first of this partnership, following our commitment in 2023 to invest $1 million over 5 years into the Fishery Improvement Fund. This collaboration will have Mars and WWF working together to drive improvement in environmental and social practices in the fishing industry. It will simultaneously help promote biodiversity and protect endangered species in the world’s oceans.

Throughout our 110-year history, responsibly growing and shaping the business has been at the core of our company’s identity. This value continues to be our main priority, driving strategy and decision-making today. 

Guided by Forrest Mars’ initial beliefs of the objectives for our company and reinforced by our Five Principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom – we believe our success is realized in many ways beyond our bottom line. We know we do not have all the answers, but we do know that by focusing our business strategy on responsible growth, we will make choices that help us achieve results without compromising on the world we want tomorrow.

 


author"s portrait

The Author

Andy Pharoah

Andy Pharoah joined Mars in 2008 and serves as the Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability. In his role, Pharoah leads the company’s communications, government relations, stakeholder engagement and corporate brand.

mail the author
visit the author's website



Forward, Post, Comment | #IpraITL

We are keen for our IPRA Thought Leadership essays to stimulate debate. With that objective in mind, we encourage readers to participate in and facilitate discussion. Please forward essay links to your industry contacts, post them to blogs, websites and social networking sites and above all give us your feedback via forums such as IPRA’s LinkedIn group. A new ITL essay is published on the IPRA website every week. Prospective ITL essay contributors should send a short synopsis to IPRA head of editorial content Rob Gray email



Comments

Welcome to IPRA


Authors

Archive

June (4)
May (4)
July (5)
June (4)
May (5)
July (4)
June (4)
May (5)
July (4)
June (4)
May (5)
July (4)
June (5)
May (4)
July (5)
June (4)
May (4)
July (5)
June (4)
May (4)
July (5)
June (4)
May (5)
July (3)
June (4)
May (5)
July (4)
June (5)
May (5)
July (5)
June (4)
May (4)
July (4)
June (3)
May (3)
June (8)
June (17)
March (15)
June (14)
April (20)
June (16)
April (17)
June (16)
April (13)
July (9)
April (15)
Follow IPRA: