The Power of Partnership: Tackling the World’s Most Significant Challenges

By Lisa Manley
Feb 27, 2019 10:05 AM ET

The word is facing severe threats—from climate change and water stress to poverty and resource scarcity—that are holding back the potential of communities and businesses alike. At Mars, we believe it’s time to address these systemic social and environmental challenges in a new way if we hope to drive the change needed for people and the planet we share. But we can’t do it alone.

When we first launched our Sustainable in a Generation plan in 2017, we knew that making progress against our ambitions would require working together with experts across many fields. That’s why we’ve placed a special emphasis on forming uncommon collaborations to find breakthrough, scalable solutions to the world’s most complex challenges.

Today, on World NGO Day, I want to take a moment to offer my thanks to the many organizations with whom Mars works to achieve progress against our shared ambitions. Over the years, we’ve had the good fortune of collaborating with global nonprofits doing amazing work to shape change and implement programs in the communities our company’s footprint touches. Through these partnerships, we’re learning from each other and ultimately strengthening our impact through combined efforts.

While there are too many to name here, a few personal highlights for me would include our collaborations with innovative organizations advancing progress against our Thriving People ambition to improve the working lives of one million people in our value chain. For example, with guidance and insight from Oxfam, we launched a collaborative ‘think-do’ tank called The Farmer Income Lab to improve smallholder farmer incomes. And in April, we’ll celebrate the two-year anniversary of a unique, long-term strategic partnership with Verité that’s helping us address some of the most entrenched and complex human rights challenges in global commodity production.

I’m also particularly proud of our partnerships with organizations like World Resource Institute, EDF and Ceres, which are helping us reduce our environmental impact in line with what science says is necessary to support our Healthy Planet ambitions. Our business and many others depend on access to energy and natural resources, and through our collaborations with many amazing environmental NGOs, we’ve also had the opportunity to advocate together to policymakers to help enable a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy.

Collaboration and open dialogue are key to creating lasting benefits, and both are at the heart of how we do business. Our partnerships with NGOs keep us on our toes, help us think long-term and push us out of our comfort zone to address global issues at the scale necessary for real impact. As we continue to make progress against our Sustainable in a Generation Plan, fostering uncommon collaborations will remain a vital part of how we grow as a business and share what we learn for the benefit of our world.