International beverage company Mars Drinks runs a Mars Ambassador Program (MAP) which encourages Mars Associates to assist people in communities around the world who support the business by adhering to the company’s “responsibility” principle, stepping up, changing lives and building a better, stronger company and world.
In April 2015, Jerry Whittle, Mars Associate since 1998 based at the Hackettstown plant in New Jersey, applied for a MAP assignment and was chosen to work with the Mars Drinks Origin Program and the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) to help support sustainability and energy saving efforts for tea processing factories in Kenya.
Starting in October 2015, Whittle toured six Kenya Tea Development Agency factories to conduct new energy audits and follow up on previously conducted audits, run training for factory workers on climate change, advice on energy-saving measures and best sustainability practices.
Whittle explained “KTDA estimates that energy (electricity and fuel wood) account for 60% of the total cost of production at the factory. Therefore, saving energy is not only good for the environment but the bottom line too. In the case of KTDA factories, savings are passed directly to the smallholders who own the factories, which means better livelihoods for thousands of farmers!”
During his time in Kenya, Whittle worked with Hilary Rono, energy manager for KTDA, Bernard Njoroge, special program coordinator ETP, and Patrick Kamari, ETP energy consultant and other KTDA regional engineers.