Mars Announces $47M Sustainable Dairy Initiative

As part of the effort, the company has launched three pilot "net zero" dairy farms.

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CHICAGO β€” Mars Inc. has announced the launch of an ambitious sustainable dairy plan that will be backed by a $47 million investment over three years β€” a significant financial backing that is part of the multinational's broader climate cash commitment, totaling $1 billion over the same period.

The company's new climate-first approach to dairy sourcing, dubbed "Moo'ving Dairy Forward," will work to reduce the carbon footprint of dairy in line with its 2030 ambition to slash emissions by 50%.

The move signals another mile-marker in the CPG giant's recently published open-source roadmap to "net zero." Mars will work with a cohort of industry leaders to implement a host of meaningful on-farm interventions focused on critical areas such as enteric methane reduction, efficient manure management, and sustainable feed production.

As part of the Moo'ving Dairy Forward Sustainable Dairy Plan, a new industry-leading collaboration with dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina, one of the world's largest dairy producers, is set to result in the establishment of the Mars-FrieslandCampina Sustainable Dairy Development Program, an unprecedented initiative that will dedicate a group of farms to Mars' dairy supply. To deliver more sustainable dairy, the program will serve as a platform where new practices and innovative technologies can be refined and scaled-up in a focused and accelerated environment, with an ultimate goal of broader adoption across the entire co-op.

"Doing our part to keep our planet healthy is an absolute non-negotiable for us at Mars," said Amanda Davies, chief R&D, procurement and sustainability officer, Mars Snacking. "But our vision for more sustainable dairy will only become a reality with the support and actions of farmers and our suppliers. Which is why, as part of our Moo'ving Dairy Forward Sustainable Dairy Plan, we're putting millions of dollars directly back into the pockets of farmers through our contracts to help them make climate smart changes to the way they farm. Together, I know that we can forge a path that helps address climate change head on and contributes to reshaping our wider industry for a more sustainable future." 

Building on an ethos of investing in long-term innovation, Mars has launched three pilot "net zero" dairy farms with the DMK Group in Germany. The sites will study and aim to implement new science and technology with an ambition to create a scalable and economically viable pathway to net zero dairy. The five-year project is a first-of-its-kind for the prominent food and pet care and services conglomerate.

A founding member of the industry-wide Sustainable Dairy Partnership, Mars is also turning to the seven seas in the pursuit of burp busting technology. The company is partnering with Fonterra and Sea Forest to explore sourcing from their SEAFEED seaweed food supplement trial. The trial seeks to demonstrate how SEAFEED helps reduce the quantity of methane cows generate in digesting their food.  

Over 200,000 cows and 1,000 farms supply dairy for Mars' iconic billion-dollar confectionery brands like M&M'S and Snickers. Dairy is the second largest contributor to the carbon footprint of Mars' Snacking business and raw ingredients account for over 70% of the organization's total GHG emissions.

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