After more than a century in business, we've learned a few things — namely that the most successful and sustainable business practices are those that mutually benefit everyone involved. As a global food business, we're dependent on smallholder farms. So it's our responsibility to ensure smallholder farmers who grow ingredients essential to Mars products are able to earn an income that allows them to support their farms, families and communities now and into the future.
Unfortunately, 200 million smallholder farmers around the globe are producing food within supply chains while still living in poverty. While negatively impacting smallholder farms today, it also means that in the future, they will be unable to meet the demand for mint, rice, cocoa and other ingredients that are essential to Mars products. So we took action, creating the Farmer Income Lab, a collaborative “think-do-tank” designed to ask questions, create solutions and inspire action in order to build global supply chains that support farmers and business.
“Our ambition is that those working across our extended supply chains should earn sufficient income to maintain a decent standard of living. We will be working with a number of experts to help guide the Farmer Income Lab's work.— Barry Parkin, Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer
Our approach is evidence-based and collaborative. Working with a range of partners — including academic, private sector, non-profit and intergovernmental organizations — we're examining existing evidence and engaging in in-depth dialogues to develop outcome-driven policies that increase farmer incomes to the level and scale required. But it's not just for us. We published our findings and insights in 2018, which will help benefit the entire industry.
By developing new policies and models to ensure smallholder farmer earn a living wage today, we are also ensuring they can grow and produce mint, cocoa, rice and other essential crops long into the future, providing the ingredients for our Associates to create the Mars products our customers know and love.