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On July 24, 2014, I facilitated a live Twitter chat with Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability Officer at Mars, Inc. and TriplePundit to offer an opportunity to learn more about sustainability at the food manufacturer.

As a lead up to the chat, Mars published its fourth annual Principles in Action Summary, which details the company’s approach to business, its progress, and the shared challenges facing both its Marsbusiness and society.

As one of the world’s leading food manufacturers with more than 130 manufacturing sites and an expansive supply chain, how does the company contextualize sustainability, set goals that encompass its social and environmental footprint, grow its supply chain and do it all responsibly?

For an hour we chatted – with 104 attendees generating almost 600 tweets, over 3.5 million impressions and 27 questions. Here’s the Storify summary.

And here are Parkin’s responses to the questions that we couldn’t get to in the hour:

  • @cmehallow: Does @MarsGlobal use @CDP Water Disclosure to manage/measure its #water impacts?

We have just completed our second CDP Carbon response and are evaluating the Water and Forest programs.

  • @csrdispatch: This might be a cheeky question, but do you feel a conflict between commitment to sustainability and selling junk food?

Our consumers, both people and their pets, get nutrition and pleasure from our products.  We are continuing to look at the role of our portfolio in addressing nutrition and obesity.

  • @dgardinera @dataeco: What have been your experiences with large #renewableenergy procurement?#MarsSusty

Our most recent large scale project was Mesquite Creek, but we have on-site projects or 100% renewable contracts at more than a dozen globally. We also just announced another project in Australia last week: http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/10219-the-sun-won-t-melt-this-mars-bar.html

  • @kellyfmill: Specific ways #sustainability goals are integreated w/ other departments? 

We believe it’s everybody’s responsibility, therefore we have goals in all functions/departments in the business. 

  • @jsonenshine: Can you share how you are driving farmer productivity? [A3b: Driving farmer productivity is our way to do both.]

Yes, as an example in cocoa, we are providing training, latest planting material and access to fertilizer for farmers.

  • @wssocialimpact: How does @MarsGlobal address sustainability goals in the short term?

We have a range of Sourcing Targets for 2015 and 2020 and Operations Targets (SiG) for 2015. More info at:



  • @gurumug: How do you cross-verify #sustainability reporting standards/systems ?

We have a third party audit of our data and an assurance by Corporate Citizenship.

  • @greenguyboston: Glad to see your sustainable sourcing goals, but what is your progress to date against them?

Check out our 2013 Principles in Action Summary to learn more on our progress to date: http://mars.com/pia.

  • @jreneemorin: What are @MarsGlobal biggest challenges working with suppliers on #MarsSusty?

One of the challenges is that we work with 100k+ suppliers and often many tiers of them back to the farmer. 

  • @cmehallow: When @MarsGlobal needs to access capital markets, does its strong #susty program provide advantage?

We are a private, family-owned business, but we do believe that boosting our reputation through sustainability is crucial to attracting great people to work for us

  • @rohitms4: Is there any specific standard to measure your success in #sustainability?

Yes, measurement of impact and not just activity. 

  • @earthshare: How is @MarsGlobal investing in associates and their communities? #MarsSusty

In 2013 we did more than 500K hours of Associate training, and through the Mars Volunteer Program, 19K Associates devoted 70K hours to their communities.

  • In response to A15: @darrylv asked: That is promising. How about elsewhere in your supply chain? #MarsSusty

Because there are more farmers in cocoa than any other crop we purchase, we started there first and we’re looking to learn from our experiences in cocoa.

  • @beth_rcarnac: As a Mars Associate, I’d love to ask where have you seen our Associates best come together to collaborate on this #MarsSusty

There are Associates at every factory around the world and collaborating across our sites to achieving our SiG goals. 

Want to chat with us? Email me for more details.