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The Five Principles

The Five Principles form the foundation of how we do business today and every day. With 130,000+ Mars Associates working in 80 countries across the globe, clear direction and a moral compass are essential. The long-term future of our business and the planet depends on us to stand for more and take bold action. That’s why we take every opportunity to make a positive impact in this ever-changing world by leveraging our guiding philosophy that has always differentiated us — The Five Principles.  

We put The Five Principles at the center of every decision we make. This means:  

  • We are committed to Quality of work and contributions to society.  
  • We embrace our Responsibility (as individuals and a company) to act now.  
  • We base decisions on Mutuality of benefit to our stakeholders.  
  • We harness the power of Efficiency to use our resources to maximum effect.  
  • We have the financial Freedom to make our own decisions, unrestricted by motivations of others. 

We know that what we do is only as good as how we do it, and our actions help us build a better world for generations to come.

The Five Principles: Quality
The consumer is our boss, quality is our work and value for money is our goal.

How Are We Part of Everyday Lives?

Mars began to prosper in the depths of a depression, has met strong competition and has grown to its present size all as the result of billions of purchases made each year. These purchases are often among the smallest a consumer makes, yet they have financed our growth around the world. Why has this happened? How are we to continue this success?

The Consumer Is Our Boss

We must remember that we cannot influence millions of consumer choices until we have convinced the first one, then a second and a third consumer to buy our brand. Each individual sale should be considered our most important sale. If we forget this, there is a risk we could rest on our past and ignore our future. We depend completely on our consumers to build our future, and we must tirelessly seek to understand their needs. By doing this we will create life-long relationships with them, through products and brands that bring joy today and can also adapt in the future to changing cultures and lifestyles.

Quality Is Our Work

Our company is dedicated to the highest quality in all the work we do. Quality is the uncompromising standard for our actions, and it flows from our passion and our pride in being part of the Mars community. Quality work is the first ingredient of quality brands and the source of our reputation for high standards.

Quality Brands Deliver Unique Benefits

By staying close to consumers, we know that certain things convince them to buy our products again and again. Quality products and services, consistently meeting standards of excellence and made and delivered with minimum impact on the environment, have always been the foundation of our success. Others also claim quality, but few can match our commitment to offer our best and to raise our standards through constant innovation.

Value for Money

In addition to quality, we also must deliver value for money. As we develop more innovative products and services to meet changing tastes and desires, achieving value for money is a more complex task. When we combine the best quality with the best value, we offer consumers the best buy for their needs.

The Five Principles: Responsibility
As individuals, we demand total responsibility from ourselves; as Associates, we support the responsibilities of others.

How We Create Our Culture

We choose to be different from those corporations where many levels of management dilute personal responsibility. All Associates are asked to take direct responsibility for results, to exercise initiative and judgment and to make decisions as required. By recruiting ethical people well suited to their jobs and trusting them, we ask Associates to be accountable for their own high standards.

The Importance of Our Associates

Our company is complex, with brands, businesses, and operations located around the world. How could we thrive if every decision were made centrally? For this reason, we give all Associates freedom to take full responsibility to deliver superior results for doing their assigned jobs. In return, Associates receive respect and support, and are appropriately rewarded in line with their performance. We celebrate success and recognize the many Associates who make an extra effort. We also encourage Associates to develop the full measure of their abilities to enable them to take on more demanding jobs.

Teamwork and Unit Responsibilities

Just as we Associates must be ready to share certain tasks, as we work together to reach our common goals, units also must work with each other to achieve broad corporate objectives. While each is fully responsible for achieving its own mission, units and divisions are interdependent and must be ready to respond to others. Because we rely on one another, we must actively communicate our objectives, plans, activities and needs, and resolve differences equitably.

Responsibilities and Rewards of Our Association

The principle of Responsibility applies to every level within Mars, from the Associate’s obligation to maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity to the company’s ethical responsibility to its communities and the environment. Because we value and recognize each other’s contributions, we treat all Associates fairly and equitably, avoid divisive privileges and disapprove of disrespectful behavior of any kind. This is the source of the word “Associate” and of the egalitarian spirit at Mars, which is our policy and practice regardless of age, gender, race or religious belief. As such we must have the courage to call attention to those Associates not behaving according to our values. We believe that if what we say and what we do are consistent with our principles, we will achieve the results we seek.

The Five Principles: Mutuality
A mutual benefit is a shared benefit; a shared benefit will endure.

Why Mutuality Benefits Everyone

We believe that the standard by which our business relationships should be measured is the degree to which mutual benefits are created. These benefits can take many different forms and do not need to be strictly financial in nature. Likewise, while we must try to achieve the most competitive terms, the actions of Mars never should be at the expense of others, either economic or otherwise. Our Mutuality Principle has been a reliable guide as we have established successful enterprises in new geographies and cultures. It has enabled us to act as a good corporate citizen, to minimize our impact on the environment and to use the natural resources of our planet wisely and efficiently.

Mutuality of Benefits

We depend completely on the strength of our relationships — with our consumers, with our fellow Associates, suppliers, distributors and the communities where we live and work. We believe we will only achieve the best results if we are unselfish in these relationships and give a fair return.

Mutuality Principle: For Our Consumers

Our faith in quality and value is absolute. Regardless of business pressures, our actions and decisions must reflect the basic truth that, if we offer quality and value, support and success will come in return. Gains that ignore this will be short-lived.

Mutuality Principle: For Our Associates, Units and Shareholders

The Mutuality Principle applies equally to all parts of our business. We value Associates as individuals for their talent and resourcefulness, and they are rewarded fairly for their results. Because we recognize we all have different needs depending on our stage of life, we accept that Associates may choose work style or career options that represent their own most appropriate balance of work within life. Units pursue their objectives for the good of the whole of Mars, in return for which they receive support and resources. In recognition of continued commitment, shareholders receive a fair return on investment.

Mutuality Principle: For Our Suppliers and Our Communities

As we negotiate with our suppliers and distributors, we must avoid terms that are harmful to their business while demanding supplies and services from them that will be the best for us. Mutuality imposes a special obligation on us to respect the environment and develop the most sustainable methods for achieving our goals. Our aim is to return a fair benefit to our local and national communities, increasing their prosperity and quality of life as we benefit from partnership with them.

Corporate Responsibility

Our constant commitment to Mutuality always has given us the highest standards of corporate responsibility. It has consistently underpinned the ethics of our corporate governance and has helped us deal fairly everywhere we are active. Our Mutuality Principle is at the heart of the bond of trust, respect and honesty that we share with our Associates and our consumers.

The Five Principles: Efficiency
We use resources to the full, waste nothing and do only what we can do best.

Efficiency in Practice

How is it possible to maintain our principles, offering superior value for money and sharing our success? Our strength lies in our efficiency, the ability to organize all our assets —physical, financial and human — for maximum productivity. This just makes sense — for both our business and for the benefit of the world. This way, our products and services are made and delivered with the highest quality, at the least possible cost, with the lowest consumption of resources; similarly, we seek to manage all our business operations with the most efficient processes for decision-making.

Return on Total Assets (ROTA)

Mars has a different business philosophy to other corporations and this is a key reason for our success. Our approach singles out Return on Total Assets (ROTA) not only as the prime financial measure but also as a driver of growth. By minimizing our assets, we give our consumers excellent value for money while delivering healthy returns at lower levels of profit than our competitors. This releases even more cash to drive growth.

High Productivity and Low Cost

In our units we always strive to increase productivity and reduce cost. Our offices are open spaces where communication is direct and the experience and knowledge of our Associates can be shared quickly. Our plants are orderly, clean and designed for simplicity. We continually innovate – seeking new processes, technologies and ways of working to improve our rate of output, reduce waste, minimize environmental impact and make the best use of our global learning.

New Opportunities

The operation of any business is complex, and much experience and knowledge are required to make ours run well. For this reason, we think carefully before becoming involved with activities in which we may not have a high level of expertise. When we launch new businesses, our ROTA policy helps us to make them efficient and profitable as quickly as possible.

The Task of Efficiency

Efficiency is a task we all share. It demands constant and open communication and defines how we work as individuals and as an organization. Lean businesses, small staffs and large jobs held by highly talented Associates are all signs of the Efficiency Principle at work.

The Five Principles: Freedom
We need freedom to shape our future; we need profit to remain free.

Why Our Freedom Matters

Mars is one of the world’s largest privately owned corporations, and it’s a deliberate choice. Many other companies began as Mars did, but as they grew larger and required new sources of funds, they sold stocks or incurred restrictive debt to fuel their business. To extend their growth, they exchanged a portion of their freedom. We believe growth and prosperity can be achieved another way.

The Role of Profit

The freedom of Mars depends on the creation of profit. Because Mars is profitable and generates cash, we need not borrow money to the extent that we might lose control over our affairs. As long as Mars remains free, our wellbeing always can come before any other financial priority. Together, these give us the ability to build our business and continue to make a difference through our work. Every Associate’s commitment to Mars must be the same as the family’s commitment: to see our principles work for everyone’s benefit inside and outside our business. To this end, a substantial portion of operating profits is reinvested each year. This profit then provides the cash with which we can build and upgrade plants, enter new markets, invest in R&D, innovate and implement new ways of doing things, acquire new businesses and create strategic alliances, all to maintain our competitive position.

Future Growth

If Mars continues to create sufficient profits, we will be free to operate the business in the way we regard as best. As Mars grows, we weigh decisions about our diversification with great care, wanting to enter only those businesses and markets where we may excel.

Private Ownership

Private ownership allows Mars to remain free. The nature of freedom demands that it be used responsibly by Associates and units alike. Our way of doing business allows us to remain free as a company and gives Associates as individuals the freedom to innovate, act and grow while achieving our common goals. This creates the kind of environment in which we are all excited to work. Our private ownership, unanimity of purpose and high ethical standards allow us to move quickly in exploring new ground, act boldly in the face of competition, and take risks wherever they are justified. Above all, our private ownership gives us the freedom to take a long-term perspective on making investments, building businesses and providing for the wellbeing of our Associates. This spirit has driven Mars in the past. It remains for each of us to make it the guiding force for our future.