Mars, Incorporated is accelerating action to mitigate its impact on water availability in stressed watersheds, with a new commitment to achieve water balance at five manufacturing sites in Mexico facing the greatest water-stress challenges by 2025.
By achieving water balance, the group will ensure every litre of water used at a site is matched through the treatment and reuse of wastewater, and by engaging in collaborative water projects that reduce water stress by making more water available in the watershed.
More than 2 billion people currently live in water-stressed countries, with experts predicting that the condition will affect over half of the world’s population by 2050 if no action is taken now.
Recognising the critical need for immediate action, Mars has identified five sites in Mexico that are most in need of urgent action to address shared water challenges.
These manufacturing operations are responsible for creating products for household brands including Pedigree, Whiskas, Snickers, and M&Ms.
Grant Reid, CEO of Mars, said, "Across the world, water availability is at a crisis point, and it’s being exacerbated by the effects of climate change. It’s clear we all have a critical part to play in mitigating our impact on water supplies, and to protect the health of global communities."
"At Mars, this includes working to eliminate unsustainable water use across our entire value chain and taking action to ensure we mitigate the impact of our operations on high water-stressed regions. Collaboration will be key and we’ll work with partners and local communities to deliver meaningful impact," added Reid.
Mars will also be introducing advanced water-stewardship programmes to improve water efficiency, achieve water circularity by ensuring treated wastewater is discharged in a way that reduces stress in watersheds, and working collaboratively to balance remaining residual water use through projects that address water stress in the site’s catchment.
The business has plans to expand these programmes to an additional six manufacturing sites in Asia and Africa in the near future.
Elsewhere, Mars has joined the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate’s Water Resilience Coalition (WRC), alongside over 30 global businesses to drive progress against the global water crisis.
The coalition aims to increase investments in innovative solutions to the water-climate crisis and encourage collective action to build water resilience in water-stressed regions.
This builds on Mars’ existing work with the CEO Water Mandate since 2015 to advance progress towards SDG6 (Clean Water & Sanitation).
As part of joining the Water Resilience Coalition, Mars will be partnering with other businesses on the Charco Bendito water stewardship programme in central Mexico, which will restore land along waterways critical to water regeneration by harnessing collaborative corporate action, the company added.