How does Mars manage 50,000 suppliers?

A procurement professional at Mars has spoken of the challenge of promoting ESG best practice among the company’s 50,000 suppliers.

Aurélie Gouverneur, business partner – supplier sustainability at Mars, said the company had responded by identifying the most strategic and high-risk suppliers and involving them in a programme offering support, knowledge and tools.

Speaking at Eco Vadis’s Sustain 2022 event, Gouverneur said: “It’s a huge pool of first tier suppliers. We have selected a number of suppliers in certain categories – the most strategic, at-risk suppliers.”

She said these had been enrolled in a supplier events programme. “We equip suppliers with support, knowledge, tools to address pressing challenges in a long-lasting way.”

Gouverneur said through this work one supplier had raised basic pay to 10% above the national living wage, while at others there had been a 20% increase in workers feeling respected and a 11% drop in people feeling they were treated differently.

During a panel discussion on collaboration, Jurriaan Lombaers, group CPO at Air France-KPM, said the company was “driving an established partnership to build a new industry” around low-carbon fuel. “The industry for sustainable airline fuel doesn’t exist today,” he said.

Lombaers said the company had recently bought new low-emission, low-noise planes but sustainable fuel was six times more expensive than traditional fuel. “It shows the challenge,” he said.

He called on other airlines to join a coalition including Air France-KPM, Delta Airlines and IAG to boost sustainable fuel. “I am excited to see how we can push that forward,” he said. “It will help the whole airline industry to buy sustainable airline fuel.”

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