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Mars to become completely solar-powered

Barry O'Sullivan, Mars Petcare Australia pictured at the Wodonga factory.

Like its planetary counterpart, food giant Mars Australia has announced it will source 100 per cent of its energy from the sun.

On Thursday morning, the company announced it had signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Total Eren, which is developing the 200-megawatt Kiamal Solar Farm near Ouyen, Victoria.

The energy sourced from the plant will cover all electricity use at six factories at Asquith, Ballarat, Bathurst, Wacol, Wodonga and Wyong, as well as two sales offices in Melbourne and Sydney.

General manager of Mars Australia’s petcare business Barry O’Sullivansaid rising electricity costs had driven the company to pursue renewables sooner than initially planned.

“The rise in electricity prices last year accelerated our plans to join Mars sites in the US, UK and nine other countries in moving to renewable electricity,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“We acted quickly because the price volatility of energy in Australia made renewables the best option for our business, in addition to getting us closer to our commitment to eliminate greenhouse gasses from our operations by 2040.”

The privately owned company already sources all of its energy from renewables in Belgium, Brazil, Lithuania, the UK and the US, and has set 2018 for 100 per cent renewables in Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Spain, Poland and Mexico.

The PPA is part of an overarching climate goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040. The company is also attempting to use its influence to reduce greenhouse gas across its supply chain, with a goal of a 67 per cent reduction by 2050.

“Last year we announced we’re spending a billion dollars in the next three years to start transforming our supply chain to get those impact reductions,” Mars global vice-president sustainability Kevin Rabinovitch said.

“We’ve made solid progress on the sustainability of our own operations since 2007, so now we’re in a good position to accelerate work and share lessons with our supply chain partners as we tackle impacts beyond our own operations.”

Mr O’Sullivan said the Australian business had “an extensive local supplier network” and would be engaging it to help further reduce emissions along the supply chain.

Total Eren chief executive David Corchia said it was an opportune time for other businesses in the manufacturing industry to investigate sourcing renewables through PPAs.

“Partnering with manufacturing thought leaders like Mars Australia is essential and sends a strong message to the rest of the market that now is the time to capitalise on the opportunities offered by renewable power purchase agreements and to drive positive change in the environment.”

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