The CEO of candy maker Mars is calling on business to lead the ‘transformational’ change needed to tackle the urgent challenges of climate change and social threats.
Speaking ahead of this month’s UN General Assembly and Climate Week in New York, Mars CEO Grant Reid said in a statement that responsibility has never been greater for industry.
“If we are to help deliver on the targets agreed in Paris and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, there has to be a huge step change.”
Calling the current progress made by companies on being more sustainable “nowhere near enough”, he warned that companies – including Mars – must do things differently to ensure that “the planet is healthy and all people in our extended supply chains have the opportunity to thrive”.
Reid saved his strongest words for the supply chain, the engine of global business. It “is broken, and requires transformational, cross-industry collaboration to fix it”.
So for instance, while companies are making good progress reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their own direct operations, too little has been done to reduce emissions in their broader supply chain.
Likewise, efforts made to address poverty and human rights down the global supply chain have been well-intended, but they haven’t yielded satisfactory progress.
“Data and connectivity are helping us get smarter about our impact every year,” said Reid. “With this knowledge, it is clear that the scale of intervention needs to be
much bolder – now is the time for business to reassess its role and responsibility in the face of the evidence.”
To accelerate progress, Mars will invest some $1 billion in its new Sustainable in a Generation Plan. The plan focuses on areas defined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including climate change, poverty in the supply chain and scarcity of resources.
For example, Mars has set itself the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain by 67 per cent by 2050.
Mr Reid added: “This plan is about not just doing better, but doing what’s necessary. We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do but also because it’s good business. Creating mutual benefits for the people in our supply chain, and mitigating our impact on the environment are sound business choices.”