Mars unveils net-zero roadmap backed with $1bn three-year spending plan

The consumer goods giant made these announcements through a new document outlining a roadmap to net-zero by 2050. This long-term climate goal was first set by Mars in 2021.

Now, the company has had an interim goal for 2030 – to halve emissions across all scopes against a 2015 baseline – approved in line with a 1.5C trajectory by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

It has also confirmed a need to increase investment in low-carbon solutions in the near term to meet this new 2030 target. Mars will invest at least $1bn in decarbonisation over the next three years and, beyond that, has stated that it “will continue to commit financial resources as needed” across its value chains.

Mars’ chief executive Poul Weihrauch said: “We cannot wait for the economy to improve; we must push forward with investments that protect our business today and in the future.

“As I have said before, profit and purpose are not enemies. Investment in climate is not a trade-off between planet and productivity, or between environment and employment. Consumers and our Associates clearly want both – and so do we. Investing in emissions reductions is sound business policy, it is achievable, affordable, and it is absolutely necessary.”

He added that while 2050 can seem “distant”, it is the action taken by chief executives now and in the coming years that will lay the foundation for the private sector’s transition to net-zero.

Investment priorities

It bears noting that, in 2017, Mars pledged $1bn to environmental sustainability through to 2025, so the new commitment marks a significant acceleration.

Detailed in the roadmap are several areas where Mars will “accelerate” its investments.

These include transitioning to renewable energy not only in its operations, but across supply chains. There is also an emphasis placed on using Mars’ scale and influence to accelerate the decarbonisation of the electricity mix globally.

Other key focus areas include optimising logistics; investing in zero-emission transport and collaborating with farmers to end deforestation and provide training on low-carbon, climate-resilient practices.

In some cases, supply chains will need to be redesigned and ingredients in products changed. Agriculture and land use notably accounted for 65% of Mars’s value chain carbon emissions last year.

Mars has additionally included information in the roadmap regarding enhanced climate-related governance. Net-zero will now be listed as a shareholder objective and a net-zero stress test will be applied to all future investment planning processes. A similar test is also in place for future mergers and acquisitions.

Additionally, the business has committed to publishing new climate goals with five-year milestones. The next will be 2035 and goals for 2040 and 2045 will follow.

The roadmap acknowledges that, at present, decarbonisation post-2030 looks harder to achieve for the business as there are “significant barriers” to scaling the solutions needed, including technology costs and the need to rethink policy and regulation.

“We anticipate breakthroughs and backsteps alike,” the document states.

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