MANILA, Philippines, Oct. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mars Food, in partnership with the Sustainable Rice Platform, (SRP), a global alliance of agricultural research institutions, agri-food businesses, public sector and civil society organizations convened by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), today announced the first global standard for sustainable rice at the 5th Annual Plenary Meeting and Assembly here.
As the leading corporation with the SRP and owner of the world's largest rice brand, UNCLE BEN'S®, Mars Food played a pivotal role in developing the standard. Mars Food also announced today its commitment to sustainably source 100 percent of its rice by 2020 using the SRP standard.
"Caring for our environment as well as our entire supply chain from end-to-end is more than usual corporate responsibility. It's an imperative for Mars Food," said Fiona Dawson, President of Mars Food. "Through the global standard, we hope to create benefits for all involved from the farmers to our consumers. The benefit for us is that is that we are ensuring premium quality rice, whilst also ensuring a higher income for farmers, and a better environment for current and future generations. It is a truly mutual solution."
The SRP standard consists of a set of criteria for sustainable rice cultivation that can be used across the globe to reduce the environmental footprint of rice production and improve the lives of rice farmers. The standard consists of 46 requirements organized under eight broad topics, including productivity, food safety, worker health, labor rights, and biodiversity. Rice plays a critical role in global food security, providing livelihoods for over 140 million smallholder farmers in developing countries and is a staple food for nearly half of the world's seven billion people.
Mars Food will use the standard as a benchmark against which to assess its rice supply chains – identifying where there are gaps and developing strategies to improve sustainability. Mars Food has already begun piloting implementation of the standard with rice farmers in two countries – Pakistan and India. A controlled farming program in Pakistan, in partnership with Rice Partners, LTD, IRRI and Bayer CropScience, has grown from 31 smallholder farmers in 2011 to 400 farmers in 2015 who produce Basmati rice grown with the correct application of chemicals and harvested with practices to improve food safety and water quality. In India, Mars is embedding new learnings while also piloting the SRP standard.
The standard complements and builds upon the company's Purpose – Better Food Today. A Better World Tomorrow – and the Mars Mutuality Principle, which demonstrate the company's commitment to helping rice farmers improve yields while reducing water use and greenhouse gas emissions and improving socioeconomic conditions in the communities where high-quality rice is grown.
About Mars Food
Mars Food is a fast-growing food business, making tastier, healthier, easier meals for all consumers to enjoy.
Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, Mars Food is a leader in producing great tasting products. Our portfolio includes the following brands: UNCLE BEN'S®, DOLMIO®, SEEDS OF CHANGE®, MasterFoods®, SUZI WAN®, EBLY®, ROYCO®, KAN TONG® and RARIS®. In 2013, global sales were approximately $2 billion.
Our ambition is to become a model business in the areas of health and nutrition and sustainability, as expressed by our purpose: Better Food Today. A Better World Tomorrow.
Mars Food is a segment of Mars, Incorporated.
About Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Incorporated is a private, family-owned business with more than a century of history and some of the best-loved brands in the world including M&M'S®, PEDIGREE®, DOUBLEMINT® and UNCLE BEN'S®. Headquartered in McLean, VA, Mars has more than $33 billion in sales from six diverse business segments: Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience. More than 75,000 Associates across 73 countries are united by the company's Five Principles: Quality, Efficiency, Responsibility, Mutuality and Freedom and strive every day to create relationships with stakeholders that deliver growth we are proud of as a company.
For more information about Mars, Incorporated, please visit www.mars.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
SOURCE Mars Food