Mars Wrigley’s decade-long initiative has played a pivotal role in addressing rural environmental challenges in rural China through its “Sustainable, GO with Mars” project.
Launched in 2014 in collaboration with the China Rural Development Foundation, the project has evolved from urban-focused environmental efforts to a targeted approach addressing packaging waste and household disposal in rural areas.
Over the past decade, the project has engaged over 55,000 university students, resulting in more than 8,500 innovative solutions for environmental issues and influencing over 78 million individuals.
The recent expansion of this initiative underscores Mars Wrigley’s commitment to fostering sustainable development and environmental awareness among the youth on a global scale.
Originally themed as “Fun with Trash,” the project transitioned to “Sustainable Packaging” in 2021, emphasizing environmentally friendly design at the packaging level. It introduced creative solutions to tackle packaging waste in rural areas, with a specific focus on issues related to product packaging waste and insufficient education on responsible waste disposal in rural communities since 2022.
Notable upgrades to the project involve enhanced collaboration with local environmental organizations in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and surrounding areas. This collaborative effort strengthens the project’s feasibility and local impact by supporting research, on-the-ground practices, and guidance for participating students.
The initiative’s focus on four specific aspects of rural environmental protection—technological innovation, packaging design innovation, waste classification and recycling, and promotional education—empowers students to actively contribute to rural environmental sustainability.
A recent addition to the project, the “Rural Environmental Sustainability Fund,” provides long-term financial support to impactful student initiatives, further promoting sustainable practices in rural areas.
While progress has been made, challenges persist in rural ecology. The migration of rural populations during the urbanization process has resulted in an aging population and fewer resources in rural areas. Both participants and organizers emphasize the crucial role of active youth involvement in addressing these challenges.
Third-party research and evaluations indicate the project’s success in significantly enhancing students’ awareness, behavior, and capabilities regarding sustainable packaging development. The positive impact extends beyond participating students, influencing the awareness and actions of surrounding community residents.
Mars Wrigley’s “Sustainable, GO with Mars” project stands as a testament to the positive impact of corporate-led environmental initiatives. By harnessing the creative and passionate energy of young people, the project not only addresses rural environmental challenges but also contributes to talent and industrial revitalization in these areas.
As the project embarks on its second decade, it continues to serve as a practical platform for global youth involvement in rural development. The company expresses confidence in building a brighter tomorrow by encouraging global public awareness and involving more organizations and partners in practical action.