Paper-based Materials Policy

Our Pulp- & Paper-Based Materials Sourcing & Deforestation Policy


Forests serve as important reservoirs of carbon, and the clearance of primary forest cover causes serious increases in greenhouse gas emissions. Forests also provide a habitat for half of known plant and animal species, regulate local rainfall patterns and provide livelihoods for millions of people in rural communities.

Growing demand for paper-based products is contributing to increases in illegal logging, and natural forest is being converted into plantations to feed pulp mills. Pulp- and paper-based materials are widely recognized as posing a high deforestation risk. Packaging accounts for around 80 percent of all pulp and paper used by our global business and is the focus of this policy. Our goal is to have a sustainable supply chain for all pulp and paper-based packaging materials sourced by Mars, Incorporated.

Our Commitment

  • 100 percent of virgin pulp and paper-based packaging traceable to at least country of origin by the end of 2016.
  • 100 percent of pulp and paper-based packaging from certified, verified or recycled sources by the end of 2020.
  • We will develop a further target, prioritizing high deforestation risk areas, once we have full supply chain traceability at the end of 2016.

Our Roadmap

Between now and 2020, Mars will qualify its suppliers against this policy and ensure they are working toward our commitments using four main strategies:

Supply Chain Traceability

For the virgin fiber in the pulp and paper we source, by 2016 we will build a fully traceable supply chain at least back to the country of forest harvest, or to a specific area where risks are high or vary within a country. We will partner with The Forest Trust (TFT) to map our supply chain and assess the risks involved, to ensure this work is guided by an experienced, credible organization.

Sustainable Sourcing Charter     

Our commitment is to only source virgin pulp and paper-based packaging materials from companies whose operations meet the following Sustainable Sourcing Charter:
  • Only from legal sources
  • No deforestation of primary forest or areas of high conservation value1
  • No development in high carbon stock forest areas2
  • No new development on peatlands regardless of depth. Any existing operations on peat must be third-party audited as being managed responsibly3
  • No burning to clear land for new developments or to re-plant existing developments
  • Compliance with the Mars, Incorporated Supplier Code of Conduct. This sets our expectations in the areas of child labor, forced labor, discrimination, compensation and benefits, working hours, freedom of association and right to collective bargaining, health and safety, the environment and ethical business practices
  • Respect the right of all affected communities to give or withhold their free, prior and informed consent for plantation developments on land they own legally, communally or by custom
  • Support farmers and plantation owners in complying with this policy

From 2020 onward, we will only work with board and corrugated packaging material suppliers that share our values and the above Sustainable Sourcing Charter. We require all suppliers to have plans in place to ensure compliance with our Sustainable Sourcing Charter by mid-2017.

Preference for Recycled Content

To reduce our use of virgin fiber, we will maintain a preference for recycled fiber where feasible and where we believe it to be a more sustainable alternative to virgin fiber. The final choice of fiber will be determined by quality and food safety requirements, product specification and performance, legal requirements, and its sustainability impacts.

Supply Chain Verification:

Based on the risk assessments carried out with support from TFT, we will where necessary seek additional evidence of traceability in our supply chain, and that the fiber we source meets our Sustainable Sourcing Charter. Given the global nature of our supply chain, we will assure compliance using more than one approach:

  • Certification to a credible, independent standard that demonstrates compliance with our Sustainable Sourcing Principles. Our strong preference is for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Forest Management and Chain of Custody certification. We will also accept product certified under national schemes approved by the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), where there is not enough FSC-certified product available to meet our needs.
  • Verification of supplier compliance with our Sustainable Sourcing Charter by a third party, in geographies where certification is not widely available. This will include one or more of the following options:
    • Third-party audit by a qualified and experienced specialist
    • Second-party assessment by our chosen sustainable sourcing partner (TFT)
    • Legality verification, for use only in countries identified during risk assessment as having sufficiently robust legal structures.
    • Determining low-risk countries of fiber origin by assessing risk against our Sustainable Sourcing Charter based on a review of forest governance and law enforcement evidence. The risk will be regularly reviewed and addressed.

As we move forward in implementing this policy, Mars will continue to work with government, industry and civil society stakeholders. We will communicate progress against our commitments and each of our four strategies annually.

1 High conservation value (HCV) areas contain items of biological, social or cultural value that it is important to conserve, including rare, threatened and endangered species and their habitat. Please visit for more information.
2 Primary forests, high, medium and low-density forests and regenerating forests are recognized as high carbon stock (HCS) forests. Golden Agri-Resources and SMART, in collaboration with Greenpeace and The Forest Trust, have developed and are trialing a HCS framework and identification tool. Please read The High Carbon Stock Forest Study Report for more information.
3 Peatlands are areas with soil that contains more than 65% organic matter. Mars will not accept any development of any peatlands, regardless of the depth of peat in accordance with the full scope of this policy.
Updated: December 19, 2014
Cookie Settings