MCLEAN, VA. — Mars, Inc. has achieved a deforestation-free palm oil supply chain, the McLean-based company reported Oct. 6. Mars in September of 2019 began a Palm Positive Plan that involved the company sourcing from fewer mills and awarding longer-term contracts to suppliers who commit to environmental, social and ethical expectations.

Mars plans to reduce its mill count to fewer than 100 by 2021 from a baseline of 1,500. In one example in Asia Pacific, Mars is sourcing from UniFuji, a partnership between United Plantations and Fuji Oil, which has reduced its operations to one mill from 780. The reduction was achieved through a 1:1:1 model, meaning palm is grown on one plantation and then processed through one mill and one refinery before reaching Mars.

“For years, businesses have grappled with complex and opaque palm supply chains,” said Barry Parkin, chief procurement and sustainability officer at Mars. “It is now clear that this has not been enough to guarantee no deforestation or human rights issues. By radically simplifying our palm supply chain, partnering with a smaller cohort of suppliers and rigorously applying the three M’s of mapping, management and monitoring we can eliminate deforestation and advance respect for human rights.”

Mars uses satellite mapping to monitor land use with third-party validation through a partnership with the collaboration of Earth Equalizer and Aidenvironment. Earth Equalizer manages Aidenvironment’s dataset on palm oil. Aidenvironment is a consultant company.

“Supply chains — the engines behind global business — are broken,” said Grant Reid, chief executive officer for Mars. “The pandemic has made this even clearer, highlighting the systemic vulnerabilities impacting supply chain communities and health of our planet as well as the urgent need for business to transform buying and supply strategies and practices. Business as usual will not drive the transformational change that’s needed.

“Business can — and must — be powerful change agents for social and environmental change in order to have resilient, reliable supply chains and a more equitable and sustainable world.”