Rainforest Action Network Responds to Mars, Incorporated’s First-Ever Statement on Human Rights Defenders

Mars, the multinational corporation and maker of confectionery, pet food, and other products, just recently released its first official statement on Human Rights Defenders. Civil society has long pressured the consumer goods company –– which owns candy brands like M&Ms, Snickers, and Twix, as well as pet food Iams, Royal Canine, and Whiskas –– to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for harm against Human Rights Defenders. The industrial agriculture sector –– which produces many of the commodities that Mars sources to make its products –– is one of the leading drivers of violence that Human Rights Defenders face. Daniel Carrillo, Forest Campaign Director at Rainforest Action Network (RAN), said:

“Human Rights Defenders around the world are literally putting their lives on the line to defend their communities, their lands, and the environment for the ultimate benefit of us all. This is a positive step forward for Mars, as it’s critical that companies recognize the important role they have to play in protecting these vital Defenders. Now Mars and its peers in the Consumer Goods Forum must take the crucial next step of adopting a full Zero Tolerance Policy aligned with the minimum requirements set out by Human Rights Defenders and their allies in the Zero Tolerance Initiative. We must not grow numb to the harm that Human Rights Defenders face at the hands of agribusiness and other industries. There must be zero tolerance.”