Climate Change and Mars Chocolate

The Lempert Report
October 28, 2016

All TV weathermen may not believe in Climate change, but one candy company sure does.

George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication has been surveying meteorologists for a number of years. When the survey first started hardly any TV weathermen believed that climate change was true. Their latest survey found that 68% now believe that climate change is actually occurring and being caused primarily or partially by human activity. A step in the right direction, but long overdue. 

Mars Chocolate, the maker of M&M, Snickers, Dove among other leading candy brands is a firm believer in climate change and has in fact, employed a team of meteorologists who are dedicated to analyzing the impacts of the weather on the chocolate business. Smart company. Getting in front of the situation. 

Creating chocolate candies involves many ingredients. The Mars meteorologists are tasked with examining current weather patterns, then working with other departments to examine how these patterns could impact suppliers of all of these ingredients. They take note of upcoming events that could create problems, like a storm that could delay shipping, as well as larger issues like climate change.

"Weather has a much larger, longer-term impact on business that isn’t getting the attention it deserves," Greg Harnish, Mars Chocolate North America's commercial vice president told Business Insider.  

One example they shared was almonds. Most Mars almonds are grown in California, Harnish says, despite the state's dry summers and almonds' sizeable water requirements. Meteorologists study El Niño and La Niña weather patterns to predict whether the almonds will get the water that they need. 

Katie Johnson, a senior manager on the commercial applied research team, told Business Insider that "Anticipating what the climate will be like 10, 20, or even 100 years from now is difficult, though the better we can understand what the different climate scenarios and risks to our supply chain are, the more prepared we can be in the future." 

And what about the prime ingredient, chocolate?  

According to the Rainforest Alliance cacao farmers face a higher risk of disease, flooding, and landslides as a result of climate change. In their words, the result to the chocolate supply would be “devastating.”

We applaud Mars for their approach, rather than joining the other companies who give merely give lip service to sustainability issues to drive their corporate PR.