What is the Mars Next Generation Supplier Programme?

How does Mars Support its Next Generation Supplier Programme with Procurement Partners?

Mars first launched its Next Generation Supplier Programme in 2019 as a way to extend their support to first-tier suppliers and deliver  positive impacts. The programme is an extension of the company’s Responsible Sourcing Programme that began in 2011, to improve sustainability performance through support and company audits.

Mars believed that audits would address many sustainability challenges with its suppliers, but would not be able to remove the root causes built in at organisations.  The Next Generation Supplier Programme is designed to engage workers in identifying issues and shaping solutions. 

The strategy extends upon the experience Mars has working with their procurement partners, but also makes available new tools and technology that can ultimately improve outcomes for the suppliers, Mars, and everyone involved in that supply chain. 

The strategy works in three steps to align, assess and advance suppliers.

Align Mars suppliers with its supplier code of conduct 

The supplier code of conduct is the first layer of the relationship between Mars and their supply chain, and under the Next Generation Supplier Programme it is included in all agreements with them.  

The code not only tasks first-tier suppliers to align their standards with the code, but also seek improvements in their own supply chains and procurement processes.  This allows Mars’ strategy to deliver change in both their direct and indirect supply chains. 

Mars Associates Learning more About Cocoa Processing (Credit: Mars)

Assess performance in the Mars supply chain 

Mars uses the EcoVadis platform to gain a greater understanding of supplier sustainability performance and standards, which allows all parties to action improvements and track improvements over time against a baseline.  

The platform gives selected suppliers a performance score, along with advice and support to improve issues and maintain standards in social, ethical and environmental areas.

Mars Associate Packaging PEDIGREE® Products – Mars Petcare Site Birstall, UK (Credit: Mars)

Advance Mars suppliers with a new collaboration model 

The long-term collaboration strategy with suppliers of Mars’ top 10 raw materials helps suppliers access third party expert support, on-site engagement, and the use of new technologies to engage with and hear the voices of workers. 

The longer term approach helps procurement partners address more complex sustainability issues, allowing them to commit to advancing and transforming their performance in target areas of performance.  

Mars Associate Packaging Skittles® Products in Yorkville, IL (Credit: Mars)

Mars Net Zero Roadmap 

Mars has also published an action plan to accelerate towards achieving Net Zero, including a target to cut carbon in half by 2030 across its full value chain.

Their ‘Net Zero Roadmap’ involves investing $1b over the next three years alone to drive climate action, from farm to table and pet food bowl, supply chain to store, and home to veterinary clinics.

The strategy incorporates an understanding of how supplier engagement, supply chain and procurement impacts their environmental footprint, as 80% of it comes from their inputs such as raw materials, packaging and logistics. 

Poul Weihrauch, Mars CEO said: "2050 can seem to be in the distant future, but the progress we make in the next seven years is critical. My generation of CEOs has the ability and responsibility to deliver actual emission reductions and put business on a clear path to Net Zero by 2050. That's why Mars is committed to delivering a 50% reduction in GHG by 2030. We cannot wait for the economy to improve; we must push forward with investments that protect our business today and in the future."

“We can both grow our business and cut emissions. I hope our roadmap clearly and powerfully demonstrates what Mars is doing and, critically, what we believe needs to happen at scale to help tackle the worst impacts of climate change," says Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability and Procurement Officer.  

Read more about how procurement will help to power Mars’ Net Zero Roadmap. 

Make sure you check out the latest edition of Procurement Magazine and also sign up to our global conference series - Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE 2024 

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