June 6, 2018 Read More →

Mars Australia to be fossil-free by next year

Sydney Morning-Herald:

Confectionery maker Mars, one of Australia’s biggest manufacturers, will shift entirely to renewable energy in just over a year as part of a company goal to reach carbon neutrality from its global operations by 2040.

The maker of the Mars and Snickers chocolate bars and food brands such as Uncle Ben’s rice has signed a 20-year power purchase deal that will support development of the Kiamal Solar Farm near Ouyen in northern Victoria, due for completion in mid-2019. It will also support a second renewable energy project planned by the developer, Total Eren, in NSW.

The move by the company, which runs six factories and two sales offices around Australia, is part of the Mars group’s $US1 billion ($1.34 billion) global investment to reduce its environmental impact.

“We’ve got a pretty big footprint on this planet,” said Barry O’Sullivan, a Wodonga-based general manager for the company. “Our energy usage in total is equivalent to a small country’s.” The company’s Australian electricity use is just over 100 gigawatt-hours per year. The shift to fully renewable energy brings local operations in line with those in the US, the UK and about nine other of the 80 nations it operates in.

Rising electricity costs were one factor, but so too was the tumbling price of large-scale clean energy, Mr. O’Sullivan said: “Ultimately this will leave the business financially better off”. Along with its own emissions, Mars will press suppliers to reduce carbon emissions by two-thirds across its “value chain” by 2050, compared with 2015 levels. “We take responsibility seriously to not just look after our own house,” Mr. O’Sullivan said.

More: Mars bars fossil fuels and goes 100pc renewables

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