This is a make-or-break year. Global emissions have risen for three consecutive years when they should be dropping sharply, especially if the world is to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
I’m an optimist, and I believe we can respond with material action. But we are running out of time.
It’s true that we need to see a change in action from governments around the world, but global businesses also have a critical role to play in fighting the climate crisis.
Based on our own journey at Mars, I believe there are three fundamentals that business needs to tackle to drive climate action.
The business case for making this shift is clear. At Mars, we’re already reducing costs by using renewables. We’ve shifted 53% of our global operations to renewable electricity from solar and wind sources, with a plan to extend that to 100% by 2040.
Lastly, business must address the larger and more difficult task of making the global agricultural supply chain sustainable. For Mars, and many businesses, this represents the lion’s share of our global greenhouse gas emissions. Business and government policies must be focused on positive farming and land use practices, which are at the heart of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, a goal backed by last year’s IPCC climate report. Better farming and grazing practices — like crop rotation and organic fertilizer use — that can restore soil health are also imperative for creating a more resilient agricultural supply chain that can support global business.
For business to move at the necessary pace and scale, smart, comprehensive energy and environmental policies at the local, national and international levels are vital. That includes a carbon pricing system aligned with climate science; clean energy and clean transportation; eliminating deforestation while scaling up farming practices that improve soil health, carbon capture and water cycle improvement; and infrastructure investment that make countries and communities more resilient against climate change.
This is a pivotal moment to bring the world together to take action on climate change in order to protect at-risk global communities and reverse the alarming loss of habitats and wildlife. Together, government, business and the citizens of the world can change our trajectory.
As of 2019, Mars’ carbon footprint began to decline as our business continues to grow. This confirms that transformation without compromising growth is possible.
This is the first year of a decisive decade for humankind, and we have no more time to waste if we want to safeguard the quality of life we have today and that of future generations.