When we bite into a Mars Bar, we’re not usually thinking about the type of energy used to make it.
But then we came across a story that said Mars, one of Australia's biggest manufacturers, will shift its operations entirely over to renewable energy in about a year or so.
Mars agreed to a 20-year contract to buy its energy from the new Kiamal Solar Farm in Victoria when it’s complete in mid-2019.
It’s six Australian factories at Wyong, Asquith, Ballarat, Bathurst, Wacol and Wodonga will be powered by solar, as will its two sales offices in Sydney and Melbourne.
Mars makes chocolate including Mars Bars, Snickers, M&Ms and Maltesers.
It also manufactures and markets the Dolmio, Kan Tong, Masterfoods and Uncle Ben’s food brands from its Wyong operation.
This reminded us of a story in the Newcastle Herald last Tuesday.
The story reported that Newcastle company CWP Renewables had secured a $700 million investment from a Swiss private equity firm to build large-scale wind, solar and battery projects in NSW.
“We’ve developed our NSW portfolio out of our Newcastle offices. It would be great to go full circle and contract some of this renewable power to commercial and industrial users in the Hunter,” CWP’s chief operating officer Ed Mounsey said.
In its statement about its move to renewables, Mars said “we’re stepping up in a big way to help create a more sustainable future”.
“This new commitment to solar – generating the equivalent of 100 percent of our electricity for all eight Australian sites by 2020 – takes a bite out of the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, a major contributor to greenhouse gases,” it said.
Barry O'Sullivan, a Wodonga-based general manager for Mars, said the company was “thrilled to be flicking the switch to solar energy”.
“It's about making a long-term commitment to a sustainable, greener planet that will benefit our customers, our consumers, and the local and global community.”
The company also plans to urge its suppliers to reduce carbon emissions by two-thirds across its “value chain” by 2050, compared with 2015 levels.
“We take responsibility seriously to not just look after our own house," Mr O'Sullivan said.
Mr O'Sullivan said Mars looks to the future and it doesn’t “define success as the last quarter’s results”.
He said the falling price of large-scale clean energy was a factor in the decision.
“Ultimately this will leave the business financially better off,” he said.
Customers will increasingly rate companies on how they tackle climate and other issues involving sustainability, Mr O'Sullivan predicted.
“Over the long term, businesses that don’t take this seriously are going to be challenged significantly in how consumers view them.”
Right, think we’ll go buy a pack of Mars Bars. And, to keep nutritionists happy, we’ll get some Dolmio tomato sauce, too.
Trash and Treasure
Topics read the story about debris from shipping containers ending up onshore in Port Stephens.
In heavy seas on Friday, 83 shipping containers went overboard from the YM Efficiency – a Libyan-registered container ship on its way from Taiwan to Port Botany.
Roads and Maritime Services had said the contents of the containers were unknown, but they “remain the property of the consignor and can’t be salvaged”.
We started imagining they were full of treasure. Then we saw pictures on Monday of debris washed up at Shoal Bay. It included containers of Emu Oil, a moisturiser.
Not exactly the riches we were hoping for. Those who use the moisturiser, however, may well disagree.
Thanks a Million
Hunter Development Corporation says it’s giving away $1 million in cash.
The catch is, it has to be for a community project. Quick, let’s think of one.
An information session about how to get a piece of the pie [otherwise known as the Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund] will be held at Rydges Newcastle on Tuesday at 10am.
“To date, the fund has made possible upgrades to Nobbys Pavilion, the creation of a Stockton historical walk, as well as new cricket nets in Carrington,” HDC’s chief operating officer Valentina Misevska said.
The fund is now in its fourth year.
It’s aimed at funding community projects that create “economic and social benefits around our harbour”.
As well as the harbour area, projects will be considered at Nobbys foreshore, Honeysuckle, Throsby Creek, Carrington, Walsh Point and Stockton.
“The Port of Newcastle is one of the biggest economic engines in this state and HDC is pleased to administer grants that enable harbourside areas to share in its prosperity.”
Groups eligible to apply for funding include community groups, not-for-profits, councils, state government agencies and other organisations that operate within designated areas around the port.
Grants of $10,000 to $500,000 are up for grabs. For more details, visit hdc.nsw.gov.au.