US chocolate maker Mars Inc called on the business community and global leaders to take “bold” action on climate change at it unveiled plans to open its third wind farm, to be located in Mexico. 

The company’s announcement coincides with the COP22 climate change talks in Marrakesh, which are being held one year on from the landmark Paris climate change agreement.

Mars’ investment in renewable technology is part of its ambition to eliminate all fossil fuels from its operations by 2040. Mars called on business and global leaders to do the same by setting “ambitious goals” that go beyond the national targets agreed at COP21.

“This is an important moment in global political and economic history, and we absolutely must come together to solve the immense challenges facing the planet. Climate change, water scarcity and deforestation are serious threats to society. It is imperative that global businesses, like Mars, do their part to face down those threats,” Barry Parkin, Mars’ chief sustainability  officer, said. 

Mars’ new wind farm in Mexico is the latest in a series of major renewable electricity projects that the company has embarked upon. The company now operates 118-turbine wind farm at Mesquite Creek, Texas, which generates the equivalent of 100% of the electricity needed to power the entirety of the Mars US operations. In partnership with Eneco the group plans to activate a 20-turbine wind farm in Scotland that will provide electricity equal to that required to power all of its UK operations.

The wind farm in Mexico, due to come online in 2017, is being developed in partnership with Vive Energia and Envision. It will produce power equivalent of 100% of the electricity required by its five plants in Mexico, located in Querétaro, Nuevo León, Jalisco and the State of Mexico.. 

Damian Ryan, Acting CEO of The Climate Group, UK-based non-profit group working with businesses and government on the issue, said: “It’s fantastic to see Mars progressing internationally – this latest announcement is another piece in the jigsaw for achieving its goal of 100% renewable energy globally by 2040. The move will also help to develop a growing renewables market in Mexico. It sends a clear signal of support to the Yucatan government that demand for renewables is rising, and that there’s an alternative to using polluting fossil fuels in this environmentally sensitive area.”

At COP21 in Paris, Mars joined the chief executives of the world’s leading food companies to publish an open letter to global leaders pledging individual and collaborative action on climate change and urging governments to forge clear international agreements at the meeting. Also last year, Mars signed on to the American Business Act on Climate, led by the White House. The Act is a commitment to climate action that aims to rally business, government, academic, technical and scientific communities to tackle climate change in the US and on a global scale.

This week’s shock presidential election win by Donald Trump has cast some doubt over the future of the US’s policy on climate change and energy production, however. 

As just-food reported in our analysis of the potential impact Trump’s win could have on the global food sector, the Republican President-elect made campaign pledges to make the US energy self-sufficient by 2022. This will largely be achieved, Trump has said, by opening up oil fields that the Obama administration moved to protect and increasing the country’s use of fossil fuels such as coal and ethanol.

Trump has also indicated he plans to back out of the Paris agreement that seeks to cut global CO2 emissions and limit temperature increases. 

“I strongly oppose the extreme, climate alarmism agenda of the Obama-Clinton years. Too often, the Obama-Clinton team imposed billions of dollars in environmental costs on American citizens without achieving real environmental benefits,” Trump insisted. 

Trump’s stance on climate change is out of step with much of the food sector, which has pushed ahead with initiatives to voluntarily tackle climate change and make their business models more sustainable.