CANNES, France — Mars, one of the world’s largest advertisers, is asking other major brands to help animals at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. The company is a founding partner—along with production company Finch and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)—of a new fund, The Lion’s Share, that will help with wildlife conservation and animal welfare.
Mars Inc, the maker of M&Ms, Snickers, and Milky Way, was once one of the most secretive companies in the United States. But that has started to change during the last few years.
The 106-year-old company is making some big transformations in an effort to tackle new challenges and new opportunities.
We sat down with Mars chairman Stephen Badger to discuss why the company is opening up and to see what the $35 billion firm has planned for the future. We also got him to give us some insight into what working for a family company is really like.
I’ve recently begun to wonder if we’re moving away from the world of commodities as we’ve known them for hundreds of years. The buying, selling, trading and hedging of commodities like cocoa, grains and energy have been stalwarts of global trade. For decades, people in corporate procurement have sourced raw materials from around the world based on defined specifications and quality standards. We didn’t focus much attention, if any, on where these materials came from or under what conditions they were produced. Today that is changing and fast.
What’s the greatest threat to our planet? Climate change? Water scarcity? Poor land management? None of the above. The biggest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will solve these problems.
Mars isn’t big on tooting our own horn. We don’t like to boast and that’s the way it’s been for more than a century. All along, we’ve been pleased to let our brands – from M&M’S®, Snickers® and Extra®, to Pedigree® Royal Canin®, Banfield Pet Hospital® and Uncle Ben’s®-- speak for themselves. But after much discussion and even some disagreement, we made a conscious decision to start sharing our story.
Since 2007, the Ethisphere Institute has been recognizing companies which “influence and drive positive change in the business community.” In a statement, the Ethisphere Institute wrote that companies which consistently show “transparency and authenticity,” should be rewarded for upholding values which “support the rule of law and operate with decency.”
By Nici Bush, General Manager, Mars Symbioscience at Mars
This month, I have the privilege of presenting an award at the Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards, where we at Mars Symbioscience, makers of CocoaVia® dietary supplement, are the lead sponsor for the third year in a row. Before I don my own red dress at this glamorous event, (thankfully picked out by my 18-year old daughter on a rushed Sunday afternoon shopping trip,) I find myself reflecting on what this award means to me as a business leader, a woman, a friend, and a mother.