Mars partners with the US Agency for International Development for sustainability drive

Global confectionery and food group Mars, Incorporated, has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in a joint initiative addressing key global sustainability challenges.

The company, which has also created a strategy for sustainable sourcing traceability by 2025, explained that its latest drive aims to address the underlying root causes of poverty in farming communities that supply key industries including the cocoa sector.

As the business noted, the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalises the ongoing work between the two organisations to address value chains and social and environmental issues around the world, including in the regions of Southeast Asia and Latin America, among others.

Through this new partnership, Mars and USAID will draw on technical expertise, reach and resources to specifically address improving farmer incomes, building sustainable and nutritious food systems, and unlocking economic opportunities for women.

As part of its $1 billion Sustainable in a Generation Plan, which aims to address key areas of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, Mars is focused on using its unique knowledge and scale as a global industry leader to make a positive difference throughout its total value chain. The collaboration with USAID will enable Mars to make the kind of impact that can only be achieved when public and private sectors work together.

Frank Mars, Member of the Board of Directors of Mars, Incorporated and Vice President for Sustainable Solutions said: “The signing of this MOU cements our partnership with USAID, which builds on a successful, long-established alliance to address poverty and empower communities in developing regions.

“The importance of our partnership with USAID is demonstrated by its recent announcement of a $2 million grant to support a Mars sustainability shea project in Ghana, funded through the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative. This project alone will reach 13,000 female shea farmers and help them to become better entrepreneurs by diversifying agricultural production, strengthening market links, shifting income opportunities and improving financial literacy.

“Through our continued collaboration, we will also extend the reach and impact of projects like the Farmer Income Lab. As a founder of the lab, Mars is dedicated to improving the incomes and working lives of smallholder farmers – and ensuring that the communities we work with have the opportunity to thrive.”

In addition collaborating and supporting Mars’ shea project in Ghana, Mars and USAID, have already begun to deliver on the agreement’s objectives through ongoing collaborations, including:

Support for the Mars-led Farmer Income Lab, the collaborative ‘think-do tank’ focused on improving farmer incomes and lifting smallholder farmers out of poverty. USAID has provided a catalytic $500,000 grant to support the work of the Farmer Income Lab. USAID, Mars, and the other private sector partners of the Lab are actively discussing how to scale their collaboration to further generate insights, connect solutions, and accelerate action in global supply chains that drive meaningful change to farmer incomes.

Support of the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Initiative (CTIP) in Thailand, which uses technology to offer fishermen at sea connectivity to land. Work is also taking place to build partnerships with the Thai government and establish industry protocols on ethical recruitment practices. This work is a part of a $14 million grant through Asia-wide and Thailand CTIP programs focused on action from civil society, business and government to advance respect for human rights.
Promotion of food safety in Nepal by helping to develop national capacity to manage safe post-harvest supply chains.

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