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The ‘SHEBA Hope Grows’ program at Mars Canada exhibits an underwater simulation as part of its reef restoration efforts.Provided

Barbara Cooper says Mars Canada associates are driven by a belief – the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today. “That gives us permission to be bold and aspirational. We are trying to reimagine what it means to have a meaningful impact in the world,” says Cooper, marketing director, Mars Wrigley Canada. “With the brands I represent, like M&M’s, Skittles and Snickers, we deliver incredibly delicious products. But we need to be more than that.

“These brands are some of the most loved in the world and so we have the opportunity to make a difference and stand for something bigger.”

This includes a commitment to sustainability – for example, working toward 100-per-cent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025 and investing in sustainable agriculture projects aimed at improving farmer incomes, enhancing food security and restoring ecosystems. It also involves brand campaigns with a purpose.

In 2023, with the launch of the new M&M’s spokescandy, Purple, the company released a limited-edition package of only female M&M’s – Purple, Green and Brown. The campaign, Flipping the Status Quo, also involved ads featuring content creators from the United States and Canada who were breaking barriers and redefining success and happiness. The company pledged $1 per sale of the packs, up to $75,000, to help fund Canadian Women’s Foundation economic development grants, which support programs that aid women and gender diverse people in moving out of poverty through skills training and mentorship.

“These are the things that inspire associates and make them want to come to work in the morning,” Cooper says. “They believe in the products we’re selling. And when they stand for something deeper, we have an emotional connection to the brands we’re selling. That’s what people love about working at Mars. And that’s why I’m still here after seven years.”

Jassica Chouhan, senior brand manager, Ben’s Original, agrees with the value of working for a purpose-led company. “It gives you the confidence that the work you’re doing is not just limited to your 9-to-5 and to driving financial objectives,” she says. “It really is so much more than that. I feel that I get to also fulfill my personal purpose of wanting to create a better tomorrow.”

Chouhan feels pride in being part of the Ben’s Original Seat at the Table program, which aims to create opportunities for students who are Black, Indigenous and persons of colour to pursue a culinary education and careers in the food industry. The brand partners with four culinary colleges across Canada to provide scholarships to help cover tuition, books, equipment and other expenses. Since 2022, the program has awarded 20 scholarships and will be awarding 20 more over the next academic year.

Another program that inspires pride in Mars Canada associates is SHEBA Hope Grows, which has invested more than $10 million in reef restoration over the last decade and is working to restore the equivalent of 148 Olympic-sized pools of coral reefs by the end of 2029. When SHEBA Bistro cat food launched in Canada, the team created an immersive multi-sensory exhibit in Toronto, which took visitors below the ocean with an underwater simulation.

“At Mars we don’t have to choose between profit or purpose – we’re encouraged to embrace both,” says Animesh Kumar, marketing director for Mars Pet Nutrition, Canada. “This approach is what inspires us to think creatively and find sustainable solutions for our shared communities and the environment. I love working at a company that motivates their associates to think big, think long term, make a difference, and make a better world for pets and the people who love them.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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