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Mars, Inc doing sweet reef conservation work

By Leonard Ho - Posted Nov 10, 2014 09:00 AM
Mars is USA's 3rd largest privately owned company whose product line includes many popular snack brands such as M&M, Mars bar, Skittles, and Life Savers. But did you know Mars also owns many pet care brands like Pedigree, Whiskas, and Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Inc (API)? They've put some of their profits to good use restoring Indonesian coral reefs this past summer. Mars shares their story with Advanced Aquarist.

 

MARS, INCORPORATED COMPLETES ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST CORAL REEF REHABILITATIONS AND LAUNCHES NEW MARINE PROTECTED AREA

 

Project Undertaken Off the Coast of Southern Indonesian Island Using Innovative Systems Developed by Mars, Incorporated Associates to Provide Food Security for Local People

 

Mars, Incorporated is announcing the completion of an extensive coral reef rehabilitation – the latest example of how it supports the communities in which it operates. The privately-owned company has also announced a new marine protected area in the same site, off the island of Pulau Badi in Southern Indonesia, which is 20 kilometers from Makassar, South Sulawesi, where Mars has a cocoa processing factory.

The project was developed by Mars Sustainable Solutions (part of Mars Symbioscience) and built in collaboration with the island community and divers from Mars, Incorporated businesses around the world. This included Associates selected through the Mars Ambassador Program, which gives Associates the chance to impact change through global assignments using their professional expertise and passion.

The reef covers an area of approximately 7000 square meters (over 500 meters long), with over 3000 specially-constructed, innovative structures on which coral fragments grow to rehabilitate the reef and re-establish native fish populations.

The reef and marine protected area will help meet the long-term food security needs of the people of Pulau Badi and provide income opportunities, allowing them to catch fish for lucrative local and international markets.

“I have watched this Mars project over the years and am not aware of anything of this scale. The beauty is that the technology is more easily transferable than other reef projects I’ve seen. The corals expand very quickly, possibly because the technology is based on a simple structure that does not shade the corals very much or impede water flow around them, enabling them to thrive,” said Dr. Susan Williams, professor at the University of California-Davis and its Bodega Marine Laboratory.  “Rebuilding the coral reef ecosystem is needed by the local people, but also offers promise to improve the ecological and economic sustainability for the future of the region.”

The original coral reef at Pulau Badi, located at the heart of the Coral Triangle, was largely destroyed by previous destructive fishing practices causing a severe shortage of fish as well as erosion of the island itself.  As the coral reef habitat is being repaired, many native fish and other marine species are returning. The coral reef is essential to the entire marine ecosystem and a breeding ground for many marine species, becoming the center for natural production of fish.

“It is so gratifying to see the progress we’ve made together – already the coral reef has significantly increased food resources for the people of Pulau Badi and I can see a much brighter future now if the people can protect and manage their new reef sustainably for generations to come,” said Noel Janetski, a 33-year Mars, Incorporated Associate, leading the Mars Symbioscience marine sustainability team in Indonesia.

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The reef rehabilitation project focuses on rebuilding the ecological foundation of food security for the island. It also trains the people to take care of the reef and the sustainable ecosystem.  The system is designed to be built largely by the island people themselves with help from expert divers and provides additional income as Mars pays them to continue the development and maintenance of the project*.

“This work has literally brought back life to the island community and the Badi people, which can serve as a role model for other islands.  It is critical to keep the all-important coral reef sustainable and the fish that inhabit it, for food and the livelihoods of our people,” said Muhammad Natsir Sulaiman, Head of Fish and Marine Affair Department of Pangkep.  “We thank the Mars team who has been an invaluable partner to the people of Sulawesi and we will work hard to ensure the future of the reef not only survives but flourishes.”

The Mars Symbioscience team has been working since 2007 to develop alternate livelihood systems that will help island people restore their coral reef infrastructure and establish new businesses to produce ornamental fish, including captive bred seahorses for the international market.  The Mars team has developed independent, family-owned, small-scale captive breeding systems to significantly increase the income of local fishermen and their families.  There are now three operational ornamental fish captive breeding businesses on Pulau Badi funded by Mars, and more units are planned.

Mars will continue to be involved with the people of Pulau Badi and local government to ensure this work is successful and believes in the potential to transfer the technology to neighboring islands and other areas of the world.              

* People from the local Pulau Badi community will receive income from Mars for producing and coating the “spiders” (the structures used to rehabilitate the reef), attaching the coral fragments and protecting the DPL and new reef system using a “penjaga terumbu karang” boat provided by Mars Symbioscience.


 

About Mars, Incorporated

In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’ first roots as a confectionery company.  In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of  building a business based on the objective of creating a “mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders” – this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 75,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.

Mars brands include: Petcare – PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital, CESAR®, SHEBA®, DREAMIES® and NUTRO®; Chocolate – M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Wrigley – DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES® and STARBURST® candies, and ALTOIDS® AND LIFESAVERS® mints.  Food – UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and ROYCO®; Drinks – ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA COMPANY™, KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience – COCOAVIA® and  WISDOM PANEL®.

For more information, please visit www.mars.com.  Follow us: facebook.com/mars, twitter.com/marsglobal, youtube.com/mars, linkedin.com/company/mars

About Mars Symbioscience

Mars Symbioscience is the global health and life sciences segment of Mars, Incorporated.  First established in 2005, and headquartered in Germantown, Maryland, Mars Symbioscience serves as an incubator for business ideas generated throughout our segments.  Its overarching mission is to develop and commercialize products which are supported by evidence-based claims that positively impact the health and well-being of people, pets and the planet.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.

Website: http://www.advancedaquarist.com.

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