Submitted by Mars, Incorporated
BONN, GERMANY - May 27, 2008 - Mars, Incorporated is supporting the 'Biodiversity in Good Company' conference this month, reiterating its commitment to sustainable cocoa sourcing for its own products and the global cocoa market.
Part of the ninth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the conference is an integral part of the European Union's 'Business and Biodiversity Initiative.' The conference takes place from May 19-30 in Bonn, Germany. Its top objectives are to protect biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components, as well as secure participants' commitment to sharing the benefits that arise from genetic advancements.
Howard Shapiro, global director of plant science and external research, and Philippe Metzger, general manager of Mars Snackfoods Germany and future vice president of sustainability Mars Europe, will participate in the proceedings of the Biodiversity in Good Company initiative to share his insights on biodiversity and cocoa sustainability, as well as the company's own challenges and successes on the subject. Howard Shapiro will be a member of the Business and Biodiversity Expert Forum, where he will discuss how to minimize the impacts and risks of business activities on biodiversity. Philippe Metzger will participate in the High Level Segment Meeting.
"As one of the world's largest buyers of cocoa, Mars has an opportunity to share in the responsibility to positively influence sustainable cocoa sourcing and protect the biodiversity of cocoa-growing regions," said Shapiro.
Protecting biodiversity is critical to the viability of the cocoa tree. Mars has partnered with federal, local, and NGO communities around the world to develop and disseminate best practices in cocoa production, investigate new methods to control pests and diseases, and find new ways to improve the quality of cocoa.
Mars' leadership efforts in biodiversity and cocoa sustainability are designed to guarantee the long-term future of cocoa supplies, while also promote a responsible approach to its production so that the communities and ecosystems where cocoa is grown can thrive.
Among the many efforts Mars is making to protect biodiversity is through the Mars Center for Cocoa Science, which researches disease-resistant strains of cocoa that can be introduced to cocoa farming regions of Brazil and other countries for greater sustainability. Mars also is supporting cocoa farmers by breeding cocoa trees that are more drought tolerant and use water and soil nutrients more efficiently. The company also owns Seeds of Change, a leading, certified organic food company that has pioneered organics for more than 20 years.
"Mars has a long history of environmental stewardship," said Metzger. "We invest significant resources to help support the sustainability of the cocoa supply chain-in part because it is linked to our own business success, but also because it is critical to protecting this unique and fragile crop for future generations."
The Biodiversity in Good Company conference builds upon the CBD's commitment to significantly reducing biodiversity loss at global, regional, and national levels by 2010. The private sector, in particular, has been called upon by the Conferences of the Parties to ensure the protection and sustainable use of biological diversity.
To help meet this international goal, Mars continues to support efforts to protect biodiversity around the world-particularly those related to cocoa. The company has worked to enhance economic, environmental, and social livelihoods in cocoa-growing communities as part of its integrated business strategy. Participation in Biodiversity in Good Company is another opportunity for Mars and its team of experts to collaborate on sustainability issues for cocoa and other crops.
About Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Incorporated is a family-owned company that produces some of the world's leading confectionery, food and petcare products and has growing beverage and health & nutrition businesses. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Mars, Incorporated operates in more than 66 countries and employs more than 48,000 associates worldwide. The company's global net sales are approximately $22 billion annually. Founded in 1911, the company manufactures and markets a variety of products under many of the world's most recognizable trademarks, including M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, MARS®, UNCLE BEN'S®, ROYAL CANIN®, PEDIGREE® and WHISKAS®.
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