A Conversation With Barry Parkin - Chief Sustainability Officer – Mars, Incorporated
A Conversation with Barry Parkin

Sustainability and Health & Wellbeing At Mars

Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability and Health & Wellbeing Officer

Commenting on the launch of our new Sustainable in a Generation plan, Barry said:    

We know we cannot grow and prosper unless the planet, people and communities on which we rely are healthy and thriving.

“It’s about pushing the boundaries and extending our bold ambitions across our extended supply chain. When we do that, and when others join us, only then will we have the greatest impact.”

Earlier this year, we sat down with Barry to ask him a few questions on Mars’ approach to sustainability. Take a look here:

Barry, what is distinctive about Mars’ approach to sustainability?

I think there are four things that do set Mars’ approach apart.

  • First, doing what’s right instead of just doing better. As Grant explained, we’ve set our goals in each area based on the best available science to ensure we are operating within planetary and social boundaries and thereby becoming a truly sustainable business.
  • Second, this is a business strategy built on win-wins. This is not about philanthropy or clever marketing. We’ve built a clear roadmap based on strong returns, and we’re confident that doing good does lead to doing well.
  • Third, we look for uncommon collaborations. We recognize many problems are too complex for any company to solve alone. That’s why we continue to seek innovative partnerships and coalitions of action to find breakthrough, scalable solutions.
  • Finally, we’re looking to amplify our impact. Not only are we taking responsibility for driving sustainable change in our extended supply chains, we’re seeking to drive systemic progress in the industries we operate in, and beyond – to maximize our positive impact and create additional win-wins.

The other element of your role is to focus on health and wellbeing. With such a variety of brands, how is Mars approaching this area?

The diversity of our portfolio means that our products provide different benefits in people’s lives and play a variety of roles in health and wellbeing. Many of our chocolate and confections products are “treats” to be enjoyed occasionally, and we’re focusing on renovating and innovating products, marketing our products responsibly, and championing transparent labeling to help our consumers make smarter choices. On the other hand, our rice and whole grains can be a healthy staple in everyday meals and we’re scaling up our work to provide healthy meal options and inspire families to cook together. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals is proven to help promote healthy teeth, while our Petcare products and services are developed to provide the very best nutrition and care to pets of all ages and breeds.

But all our products have one thing in common – Mars’ overarching belief that the products we make and the services we provide should be a part of a healthy and happy lifestyle for the people and pets who enjoy them. You’ll find many more great examples in the Health and Wellbeing section of this report.

What’s next for sustainability and health and wellbeing at Mars?

We’re continually learning and evolving on our journey. Sustainable business is not a one-size-fits-all approach – it requires us to have our finger on the pulse of environmental, social and health and wellbeing challenges, and refresh our strategies when needed.

Constantly challenging ourselves and setting ambitious targets is vital if we want to do more than keep pace. We want to get ahead of these challenges and do our part to deliver on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, creating positive impact through our business practices and decisions.