Mars pledges water balance for water stressed locations

By Helen Adams
Mars has committed to achieving water balance in five manufacturing sites identified to be facing the greatest water stress challenges by 2025

Two billion people across the world currently live in water-stressed countries. Experts predict that water stress will affect over half of the world’s population by 2050 - if no action is taken now. 

Food giant Mars is doing its bit, by selecting five high priority manufacturing sites in Mexico which have been identified as most in need and committing to achieving water balance there by 2025. The sites include Guadalajara, Montemorelos, Queretaro, Santa Catarina, and Toluca. These manufacturing operations are responsible for creating products such as Pedigree, Whiskas, Snickers and M&Ms. 

Mars also has plans to expand these programmes to an additional six manufacturing sites across Asia and Africa. 

Mars was founded in 1911, makes $40bn in annual sales and is headquartered in Virginia. The CEO Water Mandate, established in 2007, is a United Nations Global Compact initiative that mobilises business leaders on water, sanitation and the Sustainable Development Goals. In partnership with the Pacific Institute, The CEO Water Mandate was created out of the acknowledgement of growing global water challenges and the risks they pose to industry sectors, the public sector, local communities and ecosystems. 


Mars to build water resilience in water stressed regions

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. 

Alongside 30 global businesses, Mars has joined the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate’s Water Resilience Coalition (WRC), which is designed to drive progress against the global water crisis. The coalition aims to:

  • Increase investments in innovative solutions to the water-climate crisis
  • Encourage collective action to build water resilience in high water stressed regions


This builds on Mars’ existing work with the CEO Water Mandate since 2015, to advance progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation. As part of joining the Water Resilience Coalition, Mars will be partnering with other businesses in Mexico, which will restore land along waterways critical to water regeneration by harnessing collaborative corporate action. 


Mars moves forward with water security

Mars CEO Grant Reid believes that collaboration is the answer to the water crisis. 

“Across the world, water availability is at a crisis point, and it’s being exacerbated by the effects of climate change”, said Grant Reid. “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.”

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. 

“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”, said Jason Morrison, President of the Pacific Institute and Head of the CEO Water Mandate. “By joining the Water Resilience Coalition, Mars recognizes 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."


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