Lessons from a Practitioner: Why Tackling Scope 3 Is Absolutely Key in Reducing Mars's Carbon Footprint

July 3, 2023 EcoVadis EN

Speaker: Kevin Rabinovitch, Global VP of Sustainability and Chief Climate Officer for Mars, hosted by Fergal Byrne, Executive Producer, The Sustainability Agenda

Available on: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Stitcher

In this podcast episode, Fergal Byrne interviews Kevin Rabinovitch, the Global VP of Sustainability and Chief Climate Officer for Mars, Incorporated, regarding their supply chain decarbonization efforts. Kevin explains his role in Mars and the three main responsibilities of his team: serving as subject matter experts on climate, water, and land; conducting sustainability accounting; and overseeing renewable energy and carbon projects. He emphasizes the significance of scope 3 emissions in Mars' greenhouse gas footprint, accounting for 96% of their total emissions, while their direct operations represent only 4%. The majority of Mars' emissions are associated with agricultural raw materials used in their products.

Kevin discusses Mars' goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its full value chain by 2050, acknowledging the immense challenge it presents. He explains that while certain emissions in agriculture may be difficult to abate, approximately 80% of emissions can be eliminated and reduced through renewable energy deployment, regenerative agriculture, eliminating deforestation and land use change, and rethinking and redesigning products and ingredients. Kevin highlights the importance of considering the entire value chain and the need for better data to track progress effectively.

He reflects on Mars' journey, which started in 2007, and the initial challenge of obtaining accurate data for scope 3 emissions. Over time, Mars invested resources to improve data quality, collaborating with peers and leveraging available tools and resources. While precision in carbon accounting continues to improve, Kevin emphasizes that it should not hinder progress, and businesses can make reasonable estimates of their scope 3 footprint using existing resources. He suggests prioritizing areas of emissions based on estimates and directing efforts toward obtaining more precise data where necessary.

The conversation between Fergal Byrne and Kevin Rabinovitch discusses the challenges of using primary and secondary data in sustainability efforts. Kevin Rabinovitch emphasizes the importance of using existing data in meaningful ways to drive decision-making and strategy. He suggests that organizations should start using the data they have, even if it is not perfect, and make it matter by demonstrating its value in making strategic choices. This, in turn, creates incentives to invest in obtaining better data.

They also discuss the role of procurement in addressing Scope 3 emissions, which make up a significant portion of a company's carbon footprint. Kevin Rabinovitch suggests that sustainability and procurement should be closely integrated, especially for companies with a large Scope 3 footprint. By considering the sustainability attributes of the products and processes they procure, companies can move away from treating goods as commodities and instead focus on creating value through sustainable procurement strategies. This requires a shift in mindset and collaboration between sustainability and procurement teams.

Kevin Rabinovitch shares an example from Mars, where they transitioned from buying electricity as a commodity to signing long-term contracts with renewable energy projects. This involvement in the early stages of renewable energy projects helped lower the costs for developers and made renewable energy a more viable option. He highlights the importance of change management and aligning sustainability efforts with the larger purpose of creating a better future.

The conversation also touches on the Supplier Leadership on Climate Transition (S LoCT) initiative, which aims to engage suppliers in addressing Scope 3 emissions. This initiative encourages suppliers to pledge their commitment to sustainability and collaborate with Mars, McCormick, and Pepsi to reduce emissions. The success of this initiative demonstrates the value of collaboration and the need for ongoing experimentation and learning in sustainability efforts.

Overall, the conversation highlights Mars' commitment to addressing scope 3 emissions, their goals and strategies for decarbonization, and the importance of data quality and continuous improvement in sustainability efforts.

About the Speaker

Kevin Rabinovitch is the Global VP of Sustainability and Chief Climate Officer for Mars, Incorporated.

He oversees the corporate strategy concerning environmental elements of Mars' 'Sustainable in a Generation Plan'. His team is tasked with managing the global collection of renewable energy projects. Furthermore, he spearheads the evaluation of environmental impact across Mars' full value chain and guides the transformation of external environmental science findings into practical policies and strategies for the business. 

About the Scope 3 Agenda Podcast Series

The Scope 3 Agenda Podcast is a monthly series produced by EcoVadis in collaboration with  Fergal Byrne from The Sustainability Agenda featuring stories from senior business leaders working on supply chain decarbonization to reduce Scope 3 emissions across different industries. In the ten episodes we talk to business and thought leaders from a range of industries and explore strategies, challenges and lessons learned by companies who have embarked on a decarbonization journey.

About the Author

EcoVadis EN

EcoVadis is a purpose-driven company whose mission is to provide the world's most trusted business sustainability ratings. Businesses of all sizes rely on EcoVadis’ expert intelligence and evidence-based ratings to manage risk and compliance, drive decarbonization, and improve the sustainability performance of their business and value chain. Its AI-powered risk mapping, actionable scorecards, benchmarks, carbon action tools, and insights guide a resilience and improvement journey for environmental, social and ethical practices across 200 industry categories and 175 countries.

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