Beef Sourcing & Deforestation Policy



Mars has pledged to reduce our impact on deforestation. We will endeavor to accomplish this goal by sourcing select raw materials from suppliers meeting strict criteria for responsible land use in their supply chains.

Our initial priority will be Brazil because cattle raised in Brazil’s pastures are known to be a leading driver of deforestation.

In the last decade, Brazilian cattle herds increased by 27 percent and beef production by 38 percent. This led Brazil to have the world’s largest commercial cattle herd and be the world’s largest exporter of beef. Industrial-scale cattle ranching and production for world markets are considered one the largest driver of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. It is estimated that approximately 70 percent of deforested land in the Amazon Biome is used as pasture.

Mars’ focus is on this region, where highly sensitive forest areas have been historically felled for cattle ranching. Our goal is to ensure that beef used in Mars products does not impinge on the Amazon region, one of the world’s most environmentally sensitive areas. 1 To that end we aim to protect primary forest areas of high conservation value2 and high carbon stock forests3 .

In 2009, Greenpeace led a campaign that resulted in three of the largest players in the cattle industry agreeing to stop buying cattle from newly deforested areas in the Amazon rainforest, a permanent agreement called the Cattle Agreement.

Over the years, national governments, non-governmental organizations, farmers and industry have engaged in efforts to balance the employment and poverty reduction benefits of ranching with deforestation concerns. These efforts have resulted in initiatives such as, the Brazilian Roundtable on Sustainable Livestock (GTPS), World Wildlife Fund Sustainable Ranching Initiative, Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) and the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI).

Our Commitment

By the end of 2017, 100 percent of our Brazilian beef purchases will be from suppliers who are in compliance with the Brazil Forest Code and who are able to demonstrate that, when beef is coming from the Amazon Biome, it is not associated with primary forest clearance or who have the right plans in place to become able to demonstrate. To achieve this commitment we will work closely with our suppliers who have more direct visibility into their beef sources.

Our Roadmap

Between now and the end of 2017, Mars will work with its suppliers to:

  • Map our beef supply chain to understand where our suppliers are obtaining their raw material. This process will be completed by mid-2016.
  • Conduct a gap analysis of our suppliers to understand who is already in compliance with the Brazil Forest Code, or who has plans in place to achieve compliance. All our direct beef suppliers will have to demonstrate compliance by mid-2016.
  • Ensure that, by the end of 2017, we will only source from suppliers who are able to demonstrate that beef coming from the Amazon Biome area isn’t from cattle associated with primary forest clearing or who have the right plans in place to do so within a reasonable time frame.

While our beef sourcing in Brazil is the prime focus of this deforestation policy, we will also map our worldwide sources of beef by mid-2016. This effort will give us visibility into whether or not we are sourcing from other geographies that are sensitive to deforestation due to cattle ranching so that we can determine what, if any, actions we should take.

Whilst we complete the work on beef sourcing in Brazil, we will also study our beef-containing ingredient usage. Supply chains of these ingredients are highly complex and traceability back to cattle origin is today unfortunately not always possible. For those ingredients we will work closely together with our suppliers to understand traceability possibilities. This effort will give us visibility into the challenge and enable us to assess our next steps.

As we move forward on implementing this deforestation policy, Mars will continue to work with government, industry and civil society stakeholders.

We will report on progress in implementing the policy in our annual Principles in Action Summary and periodically on our website.

1 This policy only addresses the deforestation issue and does not include any other environmental issues associated with beef production such as water use, greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of producing animal feed.
2 High conservation value land has “biological, ecological, social or cultural value of outstanding significant or critical importance.”; retrieved 26 November, 2014.
3 High carbon stock forests are those with many trees that absorb large amounts of carbon and are home to significant biodiversity.; Retrieved 01 December, 2014.
Updated: December 19, 2014
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