THE BLOG
11/18/2016 03:42 pm ET Updated Nov 19, 2017

Evidence Overwhelms Denial at Global Climate Forum

To no one's surprise but everyone's dismay, 2016 is proving to be the hottest year on record according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Delivered at the UN Climate Conference in Marrakech, this announcement highlights why countries and companies and cities must act together, focusing on the science and solutions rather than the pitch and yaw of global politics. Changes in climate affect us all but particularly vulnerable populations such as agricultural smallholders - who also form the roots of many of our supply chains.

For as much as the political pendulum swings, the issues being faced by UNFCCC delegates in Paris last year, Marrakech this year and in future meetings will not be solved during the tenure of any one political leader - or even any business leader.

Instead the negotiations, programs and targets required to evade runaway climate change involve action and far-sightedness over decades. The Paris Agreement signed last year recognizes this and so do we.

The challenges are the same for the global businesses that are widely represented here in Morocco. The world's corporates must make their commitments to targets and strategies based on the long view.

This explains why, during the fortnight long conference, Mars revealed plans for a new wind farm in Mexico, following on from similar previous wind projects in Texas and Scotland. And why we announced our next short-term target of a 40% GHG reduction from 2007 in our operations - building on our delivery of our 2015 target of a 25% reduction.

These decisions help us to deliver on our own long-term goal of phasing out fossil fuels from our operations by 2040. And they are made irrespective of political agendas.

Innovation and efficiency have been the watch-words of this 105-year-old company, and our announcements are consistent with that. We already recognize the clear business case for investing in renewable energy over fossil fuels. As pricing on carbon is inevitable, it follows that we can ensure a distinct competitive advantage by becoming a low-carbon business before that moment arrives.

Evidence of the inevitability of a low-carbon economy is all around us. Across the UK, solar panels generated more electricity than coal in the past six months, while in a single night in April this year, the UK's electricity demand was met without burning any coal.

Across the world we are all on a path to a low-carbon economy and the only debate now is over the speed of change.

As a multinational company, we have a responsibility to expedite change both in our peer group and within the wider business community.

At Mars, we set our science-based target back in 2009 with an aim to get to zero carbon in our operations by 2040. But in order to deliver against the vision agreed in Paris, we need everyone to pull together. We can, and must, do more.