Mars and Verité have announced a long-term, strategic partnership to advance respect for human rights and improve the lives of the most vulnerable workers in global supply chains relevant for Mars.
April 10, 2017
At the Skoll World Forum last week in Oxford, England, Mars, Incorporated and Verité launched a long-term partnership to take action, foster new insights and lead dialogue on critical global human rights challenges. The announcement came during the panel, “Building Bridges: Partnerships in Responsible Supply Chains.”
This multi-year, global strategic partnership between Mars, a private, family-owned business operating across 78 countries, and Verité, an independent international NGO working in more than 70 countries on fair labor issues, seeks to improve the lives of the most vulnerable workers in global supply chains relevant for Mars. Bringing to bear the combined expertise and resources of Verité and Mars, this partnership will facilitate the development of innovative approaches to address some of the most entrenched, systemic and complex human rights challenges in global commodity production.
“As a mission-driven organization focused on labor rights,” says Verité CEO Shawn MacDonald, “Verité is delighted by this opportunity to promote a worker-centered approach to human rights on such a significant scale. We will be collaborating closely with Mars to strengthen respect for human rights at all levels of global agribusiness supply chains — from factories and first tier suppliers, to mid-level processing facilities, all the way down to plantations and smallholder farms. We commend Mars for strengthening its commitment to action on human rights through this partnership, and look forward to the work ahead.”
Through this partnership, Mars and Verité will work together to broaden and deepen Mars’ human rights strategy, with a focus on the key human rights issues of forced labor and child labor. The collaboration seeks to strengthen the impact of efforts to advance respect for human rights in Mars operations, with the company’s first-tier suppliers, and across its extended supply chains. Additionally, it is designed to generate insights and dialogue that raise human rights awareness and drive change from business, government, and civil society. Mars and Verité intend to pursue these goals through work across three pillars – Action, Insights, and Dialogue.
- Verité will advise on Mars’ global human rights strategy, policies and practices across its business.
- Verité will provide expert guidance and input as Mars safeguards human rights in its own workplaces.
- Verité will support Mars and its first-tier suppliers in high-risk countries through specialized training and management consulting to increase capacity and by strengthening human rights monitoring and remediation systems.
- In high-risk extended supply chains, Verité and Mars will work jointly to identify human rights challenges and develop and activate strategies to address them, in collaboration with other actors in business, government and civil society.
- Verité will provide thought leadership about best practice, challenges and latest approaches to human rights in relevant supply chains, and will conduct new research as needed, sharing insights to inspire and inform action by Mars and others.
- Mars and Verité will convene stakeholder dialogues with practitioners across sectors to explore insights and to foster discussion that meaningfully advances the field of business and human rights.
Together, Mars and Verité will share reflections and learnings from collaboration along the way, committed to transparently detailing progress.
“As we continue our work on human rights, we are proud to launch this long-term partnership with Verité,” says Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability Officer at Mars, Incorporated. “Verité brings deep experience, expertise, and innovation to complex human rights challenges facing Mars and others operating in global supply chains. It is a privilege for us to work with Verité as we make progress on this journey together.”
About Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Incorporated is a private, family-owned business with more than a century of history, approximately $35 billion in sales, and six diverse business segments producing some of the world’s best-loved brands: PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, IAMS®, BANFIELD® CESAR® (Petcare); M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY®, TWIX® (Chocolate); DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT®, 5™, SKITTLES® (Wrigley); UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO®, MASTERFOODS®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® (Food); ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA COMPANY™, KLIX® FLAVIA® (Drinks); and COCOAVIA® (Symbioscience). Headquartered in McLean, VA, Mars operates in 424 facilities across 78 countries, where our more than 80,000 Associates – all united by the company’s Five Principles of Quality, Efficiency, Responsibility, Mutuality and Freedom – strive every day to create relationships with our stakeholders and to deliver growth we are proud of.
Learn more about Mars’ global human rights policy, strategy and governance, which are aligned with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, here.
Verité is a global, independent, nonprofit organization with a mission to ensure that people worldwide work under safe, fair and legal working conditions. Verité conducts research, training, consulting, and policy advocacy on labor and human rights issues across a variety of sectors in over 70 countries.
Since its inception in 1995, Verité has worked with hundreds of multinational brands to illuminate labor rights violations in their global supply chains and to resolve them to the benefit of companies and workers alike. A Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and a Schwab Award for Social Entrepreneurship winner, Verité is recognized as a leader in the field of supply chain social responsibility for its in-depth assessments and for its innovative approach to achieve improved working conditions through alignment of management systems with empowerment of workers.