BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — Mars, Incorporated has adopted the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which is to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.” The goal is also titled “Life Below Water,” and is a part of the Business Avengers’ 17 Global Goals.
Mars joins large global corporations such as Google, Diageo and Salesforce as a part of Business Avengers. The corporate initiative was founded five years ago and focuses on fighting poverty, inequality and addressing climate change through urgent, collaborative and global action.
According to Mars, 90% of the world’s tropical reefs will become obsolete by 2043 if nothing is done to protect ocean ecosystems from plastic waste, overexploitation, unsustainable fishing practices and climate change.
To address this, the company has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas 27% by 2025 and 76% by 2050, compared to its levels in 2015. The company is also striving for net-zero emissions from direct operations by 2040, as well as circular economy initiatives for its product packaging.
“We care deeply about the health of our planet, our forests and the oceans, all of which are completely interconnected,” said Barry Parkin, chief procurement and sustainability officer at Mars. “The Business Avengers initiative highlights the importance of collaboration and cross-industry partnerships in catalyzing positive change and accelerating progress, all through the lens of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Companies have a responsibility to do all that they can to take pressure off vulnerable ecosystems and restore them where they can. As a family-owned, purpose-driven company we’re focused on doing business in a way that builds a better, more sustainable world for people and pets.”
As for sustainable fishing practices, Mars Petcare has partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to achieve 100% sustainable fish sourcing for its pet food and treat formulas. Currently, 81% of Mars Petcare’s fish sources are more sustainable than before, and no brands source any endangered fish species for their recipes. This partnership was recently renewed until 2025.
The company has also invested in “the world’s largest coral reef restoration project” in the most vulnerable areas of the world, specifically through its SHEBA dog food brand in the Spermonde Archipelago near Indonesia. Together with The Nature Conservancy, Mars Petcare hopes to restore more than 185,000 square meters of coral reef by 2029.
Since the project was launched two years ago, coral cover has grown from 5% to 55%, according to Mars Petcare, and the number of fish and the return of species to these reefs has also increased. The company’s SHEBA brand has committed to another 10-year investment for this coral reef restoration project.
“As we prepare for a future of more than 10 billion people and more pets, sustainable business practice which is led by science and cares about the planet and our oceans is essential,” added David Smith, chief marine scientist at Mars. “Sustainably sourcing fish and restoring coral are just two ways that Mars Petcare can lend its support towards SDG No. 14. Our efforts around the world to restore and regenerate these precious ecosystems are showing exciting results and having a positive impact on local communities, which we’re delighted to see. We hope our efforts inspire others to join us, so we can all play our part in helping to prevent the extinction of our coral reefs as well as the collapse of fisheries around the world.”
Read more about sustainability in the pet food and treat industry.