Mars CEO Grant Reid on reinvention, future-proofing and the importance of purpose

Jan 24, 2019 9:30 AM ET
Blog

From ever-evolving consumer tastes to environmental challenges, it’s clear the world is changing rapidly – and businesses must adapt in order to keep up. In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek Editor Joel Weber, Mars Chief Executive Officer Grant Reid discusses how Mars is reinventing itself to transform a century-old business to tackle and keep abreast of social, business, political and environmental change.

Reid has an ambitious plan to double sales to $70 billion over the next decade – but to do so in a way that is sustainable, both in the way it operates and also in what it puts back into the ecosystem.

His vision for the future is simple: “The way we do business today creates the world we want tomorrow.

“It’s not just about growth for the sake of growth. We believe the bigger we are, the more good we can do. Performance without purpose is meaningless, and similarly, purpose without performance isn’t possible. It’s that magic combination.” 

Being a purpose-led business has always been at the core of the Mars philosophy, with Mars’ Five Principles deeply engrained in the company culture. “It’s a topic the Mars business and Family were talking about back in the 1940s, long before it was fashionable,” says Reid. 

But Reid states that it is this continued focus on purpose, corporate activism and taking a stance on societal issues such as climate change, that is fundamental to both transforming and future-proofing the brand. 

As part of Mars’ Sustainable in a Generation plan, Mars has been working on improving its supply chain and working in partnership with farmers to improve productivity and supply challenges imposed by the changing climate. 

“We’re basically an agricultural company that takes ingredients, from corn to cocoa, and turns them into brands. That’s really what we do, and we’re very dependent on the supply chain and the farmers. 

“We believe climate change is real, and we’ve really got to play our part. We looked at our whole supply chain, and for example, we’re now working with cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire communities, working with partners looking for ways to help improve productivity to manage some of the effects that are going on with that change.” continued Reid. 

No business can thrive in a society that is not thriving, and this requires businesses to evolve, adapt and to grow sustainably. This is what shapes Mars approach to business.  

Want to hear more? Follow this link to Grant Reid’s interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.

The interview will also be aired on Bloomberg TV on January 25th  at 9pm EST / 6pm PST / 3am CET – stay tuned!