FMCG giant Mars has committed to achieving water balance in five manufacturing sites identified to be facing the greatest water stress challenges by 2025.

The sites include Guadalajara, Montemorelos, Queretaro, Santa Catarina, and Toluca and are responsible for producing products for household brands including Pedigree, Whiskas, Snickers, and M&Ms.

By achieving water balance, Mars will ensure every litre of water used at a site is matched through the treatment and reuse of wastewater, and by engaging in collaborative water projects that reduce water stress by making more water available in the watershed.

As part of this, Mars will also be introducing advanced water-stewardship programs to improve water efficiency, achieve water circularity by ensuring treated wastewater is discharged in a way that reduces stress in watersheds, and working collaboratively to balance remaining residual water use through projects that address water stress in the site’s catchment.

The business has plans to expand these programs to an additional six manufacturing sites in Asia and Africa in the near future.

It comes as more than two billion people currently live in water-stressed countries, with experts predicting water stress will affect over half of the world’s population by 2050 if no action is taken now.

Mars CEO Grant Reid says action to reduce impact on water supplies will be “critical’ in safeguarding the health of the planet and global communities.

“Across the world, water availability is at a crisis point, and it’s being exacerbated by the effects of climate change. It’s clear we all have a critical part to play in mitigating our impact on water supplies, and to protect the health of global communities.

“At Mars, this includes working to eliminate unsustainable water use across our entire value chain and taking action to ensure we mitigate the impact of our operations on high water-stressed regions. Collaboration will be key, and we’ll work with partners and local communities to deliver meaningful impact.”

Mars will partner with 30 other global businesses to accelerate progress against the global water crisis as it joins the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate’s Water Resilience Coalition.

This builds on Mars’ existing work with the CEO Water Mandate since 2015 to advance progress towards SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation). As part of joining the Water Resilience Coalition, Mars will be partnering with other businesses on the Charco Bendito water stewardship program in central Mexico, which will restore land along waterways critical to water regeneration by harnessing collaborative corporate action.

Jason Morrison, President of the Pacific Institute and Head of the CEO Water Mandate said Mars’ commitment to reducing unsustainable water use and helping secure a sustainable supply of water for communities, farmers, business, and nature illustrates how companies can integrate water into their core strategy.

“By joining the Water Resilience Coalition, Mars recognises the business community’s opportunity to drive water resilience strategies in the face of climate change by sharing best practices, accelerating results and scaling impact through collective action around the world.”

It builds on progress Mars is making as part of its multi-billion dollar Sustainable in a Generation Plan to improve water availability and eliminate unsustainable water use, including its commitment to eliminating unsustainable water use in its full value chain, starting with a 50 per cent reduction by 2025.

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