M&S makes progress on customer-centric eco and ethical goals
by Vikas Vij — Year 2015 was an important milestone in the evolution of sustainable business. The COP21 climate agreement and the launch of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provided a long-term direction for global business.
Marks & Spencer (M&S) has made strong progress on its environmental and ethical program “Plan A” for 2015-16, successfully delivering on a range of commitments made during the year. Nearly three quarters of all M&S products now have a robust Plan A performance to show, compared to 64 percent in the previous year. The company has made notable progress on improving its energy efficiency (-39%), water efficiency (-31%), and food waste reduction (-9%).
M&S Chief Executive Steve Row said that the company is putting customers right at the heart of its business. M&S is geared to provide innovative solutions to more sustainable living that feels personal and local to the customers. The company recognizes that Plan A is a win-win approach – a simpler, more efficient, less wasteful business is better for the planet and its bottom line.
- In 2015, M&S rolled out a nationwide unsold food redistribution program with social network Neighbourly.com. The program has seen M&S owned stores work with 500 charities such as food banks and community cafes.
- Almost a year ahead of the 2016 Plan A target, M&S removed plastic microbeads from wash-off personal care products to help protect marine life.
- To increase supply chain transparency, the company made the details of its clothing and food suppliers available on an interactive supply chain map. Customers and stakeholders can now see where M&S clothing, home and food products are produced.
- All palm oil used in M&S products in 2015 was Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified.
- Seventy-three percent of M&S products sold had at least one Plan A quality above and beyond the market norm in 2015.
- Nine in ten Sparks card holders have chosen a charity to support and donations are set to pass £1 million mark.
- Energy use across UK and Ireland stores, warehouses and offices was down 39 percent and water use was down 31 percent (both figures against a 2006 baseline).
M&S has joined the UN Global Compact and published its first ever Human Rights Report. The report outlines the company’s approach to respecting human rights both within its own business operations and throughout its supply chain.