No tricks: M&M’s a renewable energy treat

The best part is that Mars has been able to make progress on its renewable energy goals while keeping its energy affordable.

Key Points

  • Mars, Inc. is making a big commitment to renewable energy.
  • The company aims to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.
  • It already sources enough wind power to make all the M&M’s sold worldwide. 

Last year, I had a major Halloween fail. “Those kids don’t need any more candy,” I said. “These festive pumpkin-shaped pretzels will be just as fun! The kids will love them!” I said.

I. Was. Wrong.

As I passed a few out, I overheard a dad complaining about that “lame house” handing out pretzels.

So, I did what any good mom would do: I took my kids out trick or treating and left my husband to bear the backlash at home.

But this year will be different.

This year, I will pass out M&M’s.

Why?

Because Mars, Inc. sources enough wind power to make all the M&M’s sold worldwide.

Mars, Inc. just launched its Fans of Wind energy campaign with a goal to educate people about the value of renewable energy. The company already owns two wind farms and is committed to using 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.

The best part is that Mars has been able to make progress on its renewable energy goals while keeping its energy affordable.

Barry Parkin, Mars’ chief sustainability officer, said that the company is “doing this at cost parity or better than fossil fuel. … Any company can switch to renewables without penalty if you do it in a smart way.”

Making the switch to wind isn’t an easy one, even if it only takes a wind turbine spinning for one second to produce enough energy to manufacture eight packs of M&M’s (or so Fast Company says).

Wind has its challenges, like needing back up when wind conditions aren’t right for making energy. But the fact that Mars is figuring out ways to make it work in an affordable way is encouraging.

The campaign includes six ways for people like you and me to get involved:

1.Get informed. Learn about wind energy facts, trends and statistics. Check out the American Wind Energy Association for fact on wind power, costs and national and subnational analysis.

2.Find your footprint. Aspects of our everyday lives determine the amount of carbon dioxide emissions we are responsible for — our carbon footprint. There are several calculators available to help you find yours, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Carbon Calculator.

3.Be a smart energy user. Get tips for reducing your energy use and increasing energy efficiency, which helps the planet and your pocket by lowering your electricity bill. Check out the Department of Energy’s Energy Saver pageEPA Energy and Environment page and Energy Star program for starters.

4.Know your energy mix. Find out the power mix of your existing energy utility and the emissions produced by those sources with the EPA’s power profile report.

5.Buy green power. You can change your carbon footprint and support clean energy by purchasing electricity from renewable sources. There are many options — including installing solar panels, choosing renewable energy options from your energy service provider, purchasing renewable energy credits, or crowdfunding new, clean energy sources. You can start by calling your utility company or using the Green-e database to identify your clean energy options by ZIP code.

6.Get engaged. Learn about renewable energy standards in your state, and discuss your support with your local officials. You can volunteer with or donate to civil society organizations that support clean energy and climate action and support local community renewable projects in developing countries.

And here’s a bonus way: Pass on the pretzels and opt for the chocolate this Halloween. Believe me on this one. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree in political science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the governor’s office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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