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Mars Food Commits to 100 Percent Sustainably Sourced Rice by 2020

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Mars Food, in partnership with the Sustainable Rice Platform, (SRP), a global alliance of agricultural research institutions, agri-food businesses, public sector and civil society organizations convened by UNEP and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), yesterday announced the first global standard for sustainable rice in Manila, Philippines.

As the leading corporation with the SRP and owner of the world’s largest rice brand, Uncle Ben’s, Mars Food played a pivotal role in developing the standard. Mars Food also announced today its commitment to sustainably source 100 percent of its rice by 2020 using the SRP standard.

“Caring for our environment as well as our entire supply chain from end-to-end is more than usual corporate responsibility. It’s an imperative for Mars Food,” said Fiona Dawson, President of Mars Food. “Through the global standard, we hope to create benefits for all involved from the farmers to our consumers.  The benefit for us is that is that we are ensuring premium quality rice, whilst also ensuring a higher income for farmers, and a better environment for current and future generations. It is a truly mutual solution.”

The SRP standard consists of a set of criteria for sustainable rice cultivation that can be used across the globe to reduce the environmental footprint of rice production and improve the lives of rice farmers. The standard consists of 46 requirements organized under eight broad topics, including productivity, food safety, worker health, labor rights, and biodiversity. Rice plays a critical role in global food security, providing livelihoods for over 140 million smallholder farmers in developing countries and is a staple food for nearly half of the world’s seven billion people.

Mars Food will use the standard as a benchmark against which to assess its rice supply chains – identifying where there are gaps and developing strategies to improve sustainability. Mars Food has already begun piloting implementation of the standard with rice farmers in two countries – Pakistan and India.

A controlled farming program in Pakistan, in partnership with Rice Partners, LTD, IRRI and Bayer CropScience, has grown from 31 smallholder farmers in 2011 to 400 farmers in 2015 who produce Basmati rice grown with the correct application of chemicals and harvested with practices to improve food safety and water quality. In India, Mars is embedding new learnings while also piloting the SRP standard.

The standard complements and builds upon the company’s Purpose – Better Food Today. A Better World Tomorrow – and the Mars Mutuality Principle, which demonstrate the company’s commitment to helping rice farmers improve yields while reducing water use and greenhouse gas emissions and improving socio-economic conditions in the communities where high-quality rice is grown.

Mars, Inc. is an American global manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products with US$33 billion in annual sales in 2013, and is ranked as the 6th largest privately held company in the United States by Forbes. The company was named by Fortune magazine as one of the top 100 companies to work for in 2013, citing the example that employees of the pet food division can take their dogs to work.

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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