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15 March 2014 | Gurjit Degun
Mars has committed to implementing a fully sustainable palm oil supply chain by the end of the year, and has introduced a deforestation policy.
The food manufacturer behind M&Ms, Pedigree Chum and Uncle Ben's will adhere to industry standards to develop a fully traceable pipeline back to known palm oil processing mills.
The move is supported by the launch of a deforestation policy where Mars will focus on other raw materials that have the "greatest impact on forests" such as beef, pulp and paper, and soy.
Mars suppliers will be require to have a fully sustainable and traceable palm oil supply across all their operations by the end of 2015, or to have plans in place by the end of 2015 for doing so. The company will monitor this through a sourcing charter and Mars is calling on suppliers to confirm their commitment to it by the end of the year.
The company said it will report on progress in its annual Principles in Action Summary and will also provide updates every six months on Mars.com. It added: “The business will also continue to partner with industry, governments and civil society on broader efforts to protect forests and ensure mutual benefits for the workers and communities that rely on them and will work closely with the Consumer Goods Forum to progress on this issue.”
Mars has also become a member of The Forest Trust, a global non-profit organisation focused on the delivery of responsible products. It will help Mars suppliers in mills and plantations to build traceability and verify that their fresh-fruit bunch supply, including supply from smallholders, meets Mars’ sourcing charter.
Barry Parkin, chief sustainability officer at Mars Incorporated, said: “We have recognised that even though we have already implemented a 100 per cent certified supply of palm oil, this is not enough. We believe that these additional measures will not only help build a genuinely sustainable pipeline for Mars, but will also help accelerate change across the industry by encouraging our suppliers to only source from companies whose plantations and farms are responsibly run.”