‘A better world for pets’ is the adagio of the Mars Petcare segment. It comes to life in multiple ways, one of which is the partnership with the Blue Cross that has been going strong for three decades (!) already. The Blue Cross of Belgium has four pet shelters that look for a new home for 3,000 dogs and cats every year. Petcare Brand Manager Tom Veyt and Corporate Affairs trainee Candice Ihamouine explain why this partnership is so typically ‘Mars’.
“As brand manager for brands such as Perfect Fit, Cesar and Nutro, the partnership Blue Cross of Belgium is of course on my radar,” says Tom. "But not only on a functional level. Through the Mars Volunteering Program, all Mars Associates can choose to contribute to this project."
Choose your social purpose ...
“When I started at Mars five years ago, it quickly became clear to me that you get the opportunity to look beyond your functional job content and really contribute to creating social impact,” says Tom enthusiastically. “When I heard about the collaboration with The Blue Cross, I immediately shot into action. At Mars you quickly end up in an active community around a partnership such as this one. ”
… And make things happen!
“I also experience that freedom and responsibility, even as an intern,” says Candice. “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is super important at Mars. That is exactly why I chose this company. You participate in projects that make sense and give enthusiasm. We really make it happen on site. Anyone who then takes part feels extra involved. ”
Building a better world for pets: Mars Petcare's mission is not only to produce the well-known pet food, but also to permanently raise awareness. “In the week of World Animal Day (4/10), for example, we launch actions and promotions every year,” says Tom. “Part of the proceeds will go to The Blue Cross. In any case, we assure them of most of their pet food on an annual basis. During the week of World Animal Day, many teams at Mars and at our commercial partners are all stepping up. ” Candice agrees: "Every team contributes to the partnership."
Tom is happy to illustrate another aspect of this collaboration. “You also learn a lot from these projects. It gives you a more external perspective on, for example, the challenges in the daily operation of associations like these, how they (have to) make choices and how important volunteer work is. You also pick up learnings from colleagues in other positions that you would not be able to learn in your daily job. ”
In need you know your friends
Due to COVID-19, there are significantly fewer donations for The Blue Cross of Belgium this year. “That's why we created a mini project team to boost adoptions and convince people to support again,” said Tom. "As from fall 2020 we will communicate more intensively and add an extra layer to our existing commitment." Candice adds: “This is not just a one-shot operation. Keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook channels.”
A four-legged furry friend in your family? Adopt, don’t shop!
“Mars Belgium has been helping us to place more animals for thirty years,” says Guy Adant, president of the Blue Cross of Belgium. “Because they have been providing us with free pet food, we were able to invest extra in animal-friendly infrastructure.”
“Mars allows us to campaign permanently. We always want to stress that becoming a "pet parent" should not be a quick, impulsive decision, but a long-term commitment to a new member of the family. At least once a year, a team from Mars Belgium comes along to help. They do what they promise. The people at Mars Belgium call us themselves to ask what our needs are. That is no superfluous luxury for all those animals of different ages and sizes. ”
“Because of COVID-19, donations almost completely disappeared and an association like ours does not receive any financial support from the government. With the support of Mars Belgium, we now have plans to set up an online adoption platform. Our core message: if you are considering adopting an animal, start your search with the many animals in a shelter that are looking for a new, warm home. All our employees and volunteers are happy to make an effort to find a good match between a family and one of our animals. Anyone who had an animal at home during the COVID-19 crisis felt a lot less lonely.”
The Blue Cross of Belgium is located in Wommelgem, Lommel, Vorst and Floriffoux. You can donate on BE07 0015 6579 0366.