Mars boss lashes out at ‘nonsensical’ attacks on corporate ESG

Companies that roll back their social and environmental commitments in the face of “nonsensical” political attacks risk alienating a generation of talent, Mars’ new CEO has warned, citing the prospect of the group’s revenue doubling in the next decade years.

The family-owned pet care, chocolate and gum company’s sales “could well double” to $90 billion in a decade, Poul Weihrauch told the Financial Times in his first interview since being named CEO last September. However, the more important goal is “responsible” growth.

Companies’ environmental and social goals have been politicized, he said, but “quality companies are very committed to it, and if I leave this office and take with me a 25-year-old employee who came to us from university, they’re going to want us around.” to do that”.

The employees that Mars calls employees “are not going to stay with us if we don’t care about ESG or purpose or whatever we call it. So from my chair, I think it’s a nonsensical conversation,” Weihrauch said. “We don’t believe that purpose and profit are enemies.”

The company, which hires 25,000 people annually, has broken with a tradition of privacy in recent years to emphasize its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and clean up its supply chains, but it has largely stayed out of the culture wars of the business world.

That changed last year when Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host with a large Republican following, began attacking the cartoon characters Mars used to promote his M&M’s candy as he “woke them up.”

Weihrauch suggested that the attention had strengthened the brand, noting that a Super Bowl ad campaign that played on the controversy had generated 25 billion online impressions. “There’s a lot of sales and it’s difficult to keep up with orders,” he added.

Politicians must “intervene and take more responsibility” in areas such as the provision of recycling systems, while maintaining dialogue with “good big companies that want to drive change,” argued Weihrauch.

Mars intended to more than double its spending on a sustainability agenda that includes greenhouse gases, packaging and its supply chain, he announced, from $1.1 billion in the last three years to $2.7 billion in the next three years.

Last March, Mars said it would scale back its business in Russia to focus on its “essential role in feeding the Russian people and pets.” Weihrauch defended the decision to keep some operations in place, saying it wanted to protect its 6,000 people in Russian but had halted “hundreds of millions” of dollars in exports and donated all $12 million of profits from the country to humanitarian causes.

The former head of Mars’ petcare division said he is targeting both organic growth and acquisitions to take sales from last year’s $45 billion to a level in between Procter & Gamble’s $80 billion in sales for the year 2022 and to double Nestlé’s $102 billion in sales.

With stable family holdings and a “very solid” balance sheet, he said, more potential sellers see Mars as a “safe haven” in an economy with high inflation and high rates where private equity and venture capital groups have been less competitive.

Mars bought VCA, an operator of veterinary clinics, for $9.1 billion in 2017 and Wrigley’s gum for $23 billion in 2008, but recent purchases have been smaller. Late last year, it bought Canada’s Champion Petfoods and Trü Frü, a fruit-based snacks brand, for an undisclosed sum.

Weihrauch said the 140,000-employee group has seen “surprisingly good” growth everywhere except Europe, which has been “hit pretty hard”. Mars boss lashes out at ‘nonsensical’ attacks on corporate ESG

Brian Ashcraft is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button