Chocolatier Mars Wrigley, the company that makes M&Ms and Snickers, had announced it is trimming the ranks of its palm-oil suppliers, and it also eliminated the ones that could not commit to preventing deforestation.
Mars expressed that it is now easier to verify the palm-oil suppliers that meet environmental and ethical goals since they are down to a few suppliers. It has gotten rid of two major suppliers, as well as 21 second-tier suppliers who fail to follow its protocols.
The company said on Tuesday (6 October) that it has reached the point where its palm oil use is no longer contributing to the clearing of tropical forests, which is a practice that majorly contributes to global warming.
According to Bloomberg, Mars is using satellite mapping to monitor land use and third-party validation, and the company had asked its suppliers to apply the same rules to all production, including for other buyers.
The chief procurement and sustainability officer at Mars, Barry Parkin, said that the company has “cleaned up its act”.
He mentioned that this move is to aim for the changes to improve behaviour across the entire industry.
“We’re weeding out the bad actors and we’re rewarding the good actors.”
As Mars is left with fewer suppliers, it was reported that it is “easier” to regulate. Furthermore, it allows Mars to “shorten to pipeline” from plantation to refinery, thus lowering its costs.
Mr Parkin explains that if a supplier was found to have done some wrong, Mars would immediately drop the supplier.
“If a fire starts somewhere in one of the areas that we’re sourcing from, an alert will go off and ground verification will happen.”
“If it’s found that a supplier has done something wrong, they are immediately dropped out of our supply chain and then the investigation happens and they get a chance to explain it.”
It was reported that about 85 per cent of palm-oil production occurs in Malaysia and Indonesia, and the conversion of peat swamps into palm-oil plantations produces as much greenhouse-gas pollution as nearly half to the global aviation industry.
Since palm oil is being used to make a wide variety of things like chocolate, shampoo, deodorant and animal feed, the environmental and social impact caused by slash-and-burn farming gained scrutiny.
Therefore, companies like Mars, Mondelez International Inc., Nestle SA as well as Unilever NV pledged to step up on preventing further environmental damage.