Galaxy Sustainability Actions
Sustainably Sourcing Rice Far The Future
Preserving the Rice Crop For Generations Rice is a staple for half the global population, so it needs to be protected. As the maker of UNCLE BEN’S®, the world’s largest global rice brand, we are working to create a sustainable rice supply that can help support business growth and the nutritional needs of a growing population. As always, we’re challenging ourselves to transform how we do business today, to help create the world we want to see tomorrow. And how our products’ rice is grown plays a big part. THE SUSTAINABLE RICE PLATFORM As a proud leading member of the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP), a global alliance led by the UN, we’re working with dozens of government agencies, private companies, and NGOs like World Wildlife Fund, Oxfam and GIZ. To increase sustainably sourced rice and support farming communities, SRP launched the first global standard for sustainable rice in 2015. Members developed a set of criteria for reducing the environmental footprint of rice production and helping people thrive including: Productivity Food safety Worker health Labor rights RESEARCHING LOWER-IMPACT RICE Improving sustainability takes research, which is why we’re partnering with the University of California-Davis and the University of Arkansas to study the “alternate wetting and drying” watering technique. We’ve found it can reduce water use by 30 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent—all without reducing rice yield! So we’ve introduced this technique to our U.S. farmers, and are doing the same in Spain and almost 5,000 rice farmers in Asia. As well we support rice farmers improving laser levelling, maintaining optimum soil moisture, improving underground pipes and concrete-lined water channels and direct seeding. AND THE RESULTS In Pakistan we have seen a 32 percent increase in farmer income and a 17 percent increase in yield. Muhammad Idris, a rice farmer in the village of Sidham Pakistan, says “I have been a contract farmer for the last three years. They have a quality team that visits us regularly and advises us on what to do and what not to do including pesticide and fungicide usage and timing. Because of this my crop quality has improved." In the U.S., Jim Whitaker in California has also seen serious improvements thanks to SRP techniques. “Using innovative rice-farming methods supported by Mars Food, I’ve been able to use 20 percent less fertilizer, 50 percent less water and become one of the first U.S. rice growers to sell carbon offsets, using the California Cap and Trade Compliance market.” As more farmers learn sustainable rice farming techniques—and more manufacturers commit to sourcing sustainable rice—we can greatly improve the sustainability of the global rice supply and make sure this crucial crop is around for generations to come.
Taking Responsibility to Rebuild Coral Reefs
The world’s coral reefs are in trouble — marine heatwaves linked to climate change, human destruction and pollution are contributing to the loss of reefs around the world. At the current rate of decline, it is quite possible that in two generations, aquariums may be the only place a young child will be able to witness the wonder of color and life that encompasses a coral reef. Our Sustainable in a Generation Plan enables us to find new and innovative ways to make a lasting difference in protecting and preserving our planet. Part of this work is happening right now in the heart of the Coral Triangle, one of the most biodiverse natural ecosystems in the world. While you might not associate rebuilding coral reefs off the coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia, with Mars’ global business strategy, it’s part of our long-standing commitment to work closely with local communities to solve complex problems and help sustain the livelihoods of people in our supply chains. What began as a question and a challenge in 2010 – Is it possible to rebuild a coral reef? — has evolved into something very unique within the greater Mars ecosystem, and the world. Since 2011 Mars has been continuously developing and refining a low-cost, reproducible method of coral reef ecosystem restoration. Called MARRS (Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System), the method is based on installing a continuous web of “reef stars” — hexagonal sand coated steel structures with coral fragments attached —covering barren coral rubble fields and gaps between the remaining live coral on the reef. Over 18,000 reef stars incorporating 270,000 coral fragments have now been installed across two different reefs, equal to three hectares. The resulting effort is what now is likely one of the world’s largest restored coral reef ecosystems and active restoration programs and is spread across two island communities in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, as well as a third location off the island of Bali. In a short time, we have had remarkable results. The MARRS method, which provides a structure that facilitates rapid coral growth and promotes the functional recovery of the reef, has successfully demonstrated an increase in the coral growth, diversity and even new recruitment, with new coral coverage consistently exceeding 50 percent in less than two years. The ecological footprint, and therefore biological value, of the restoration site goes well beyond its physical footprint by producing coral larvae, nurseries areas and feeding stations for migratory species. Within a very short space of time, all structures used to construct and kick-start reef recovery are integrated in to the natural reef framework. The reef stars also provide an ideal platform where super-corals can attach and compliment other initiatives aimed at protecting the future of corals around the world from the threats of climate change. This has in turn attracted a huge variety of fish and marine life, thereby providing the basis for both longer term food security and job opportunities for the local community. Not only can you see the difference year over year, you can hear it as well. MARRS is now increasingly recognized by the scientific community as a proven potential method which can be used to restore rubble fields within damaged coral reefs. As always, we have our sights on the future. Our success in Indonesia has inspired us to take our learnings around the world in 2019; including to the Mesoamerican Reef off Mexico as well as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. To do the latter, we have formed partnerships with tourism operators and local universities such as James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, which gives us the opportunity to collaborate with some of the world’s leading marine scientists to perhaps help restore the iconic Great Barrier Reef. We also plan to work with JCU to explore solutions for other challenges we face in our supply chains, like cocoa pollination and next-generation small farming productivity techniques. This partnership is only the start — and we know we can’t do it alone. Only by working together can we preserve the beauty and biodiversity of our planet for generations to come.
Creating a Deforestation-Free Global Cocoa Supply Chain
We all rely on forests. They provide habitat for half of all known plant and animal species, regulate local rainfall patterns, serve as an important reservoir of carbon and provide livelihoods for millions of people in rural communities. Today, we’re marking International Day of Forests by sharing progress we’ve made to date to limit deforestation as outlined in our Cocoa for Generations strategy, as well outlining new commitments to create a future without deforestation. Link to Press Release Progress to Date: As part of our ambition to preserve forests and create a traceable supply chain by 2025, we’ve GPS-mapped 24 percent of our global cocoa supply chain to the farm level, as well as made significant progress in tracing the cocoa we source to a country of origin via our Tier 1 direct suppliers, Tier 2 farmer groups and Tier 3 farmer level. Click here for more details. The Cocoa Supply Chain We Want Tomorrow: In addition to the ambitions outlined in the original Cocoa for Generations strategy, moving forward, we’re aiming to create a deforestation-free worldwide cocoa supply chain, as well as further enforce human rights commitments with our cocoa suppliers to respect and promote the human rights of indigenous people and communities. This work will include mapping 100 percent of our supply chain via GPS to the farm level, risk assessment and action plans for all of the countries where we source cocoa including Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana (where nearly 65% of the world’s cocoa is grown), Indonesia, Brazil, Cameroon and Ecuador. We will also advance partnerships with cocoa suppliers, governments and civil society partners who share our common goal of preserving forests for the future, and are committed to accelerate our progress by working only with cocoa suppliers who can be accountable to meet the milestones laid out in our Cocoa for Generations plan.
Saving Tomorrow’s Cocoa, Today
We're investing more than $1 billion to make our cocoa supply chain sustainable. Our chocolate has been loved the world over for more than 100 years. But to ensure we can continue providing chocolate for future generations, we know sustainable cocoa production is key. As part of our Sustainable In A Generation Plan — which aims to ensure a healthy planet, help people thrive, and nourish wellbeing — we’re taking a deep look into every aspect of our business and how the ingredients that make our products are grown or harvested. This, of course, includes the cocoa supplied for our brands like M&Ms®, Twix®, Dove® and Snickers®. Unfortunately, today’s cocoa supply chain doesn’t meet our ambitions. At Mars, we’re ready to take a new approach that creates a pathway for cocoa farmers, their families and their communities to thrive. Cocoa for Generations is our contribution and we want others to join us in the development of effective, scalable and innovative solutions. We will back up our Cocoa for Generations strategy with an investment of more than $1 billion over the next 10 years, and commit to two pillars of work through which we will step up our efforts to increase smallholder farmer income, protect children and preserve forests today. We will also work to crack the code on a model for modern sustainable cocoa farming for tomorrow. Cocoa for Generations: Last year, we launched our Sustainable in a Generation Plan, committing our global business to unlock systemic changes that benefit people and the planet. This plan has led us to fundamentally rethink our cocoa sustainability strategy. Over the years, we’ve made progress in addressing social and environmental challenges in the cocoa sector, reaching nearly 180,000 farmers with certification and improving average yields on participating farms. But we’re impatient with the pace of our progress, and of the sector overall. Despite progress, farmers haven’t experienced improvements in their incomes or living conditions at an adequate pace. Children continue to labor in hazardous conditions, with significant gaps in access to safe, high-quality schooling. Deforestation continues in the cocoa supply chain with farming occurring in protected forest areas. Business and government must think and act differently if cocoa farming families are to thrive in the future. Cocoa for Generations is our contribution. We commit to two pillars of work, Responsible Cocoa Today and Sustainable Cocoa Tomorrow, and invite others to join us in the development of effective, scalable and innovative solutions. Responsible Cocoa Today: The first pillar of Cocoa for Generations is Responsible Cocoa Today. It aims to ensure 100 percent of our cocoa is responsibly sourced globally and is traceable by 2025.