01 Mar 2010 --- The new commitments will mean we ensure all M&S products become ‘Plan A products’ with at least one sustainable quality, enable our 2,000 suppliers to adopt Plan A best practice and encourage M&S customers and employees to live ‘greener’ lifestyles.
1 Mar 2010 --- Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced a programme to be the world’s most sustainable retailer by 20151, launching 80 major new commitments under M&S’ eco and ethical plan, Plan A.
The new commitments will mean we ensure all M&S products become ‘Plan A products’ with at least one sustainable quality, enable our 2,000 suppliers to adopt Plan A best practice and encourage M&S customers and employees to live ‘greener’ lifestyles.
• Converting all 2.7 billion individual M&S food, clothing and home items (across 36,000 product lines) sold every year into ‘Plan A products’, so that each carries at least one sustainable or ethical quality (e.g. carrying Fairtrade or Marine Stewardship Council certification or using free range or other sustainable ingredients). We will aim to convert 50% of our products by 2015 and 100% by 2020;
• Encouraging 21 million M&S customers to live a more sustainable lifestyle with the launch of a new competition – Your Green Idea – for customers to submit their ideas for ‘green’ actions for M&S to adopt. The winning idea will receive £100,000 to be spent on ‘greening’ an organisation such as a school, charity or small business;
• Becoming the first major retailer to actively tackle and bring clarity to the living wage debate. M&S will do this by determining and agreeing a fair, living wage before implementing a process to ensure our clothing suppliers pay this wage to their workers in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. Based on our successful pilot in Bangladesh, we will do this by working with our suppliers to improve productivity and management practices;
• Working with M&S suppliers to provide training and education programmes – including in basic healthcare and workers’ rights - for 500,000 workers in their factories;
• Helping our suppliers create 200 ‘Plan A’ factories with either ethical or environmental features, or both, and encouraging 10,000 farmers who produce our fresh foods to join our sustainable agriculture programme;
• Sourcing all cardboard for M&S food packaging via a single ‘model’ forest programme;
• Becoming the first major retailer to ensure full traceability of all the key raw materials used in our clothing and home products including cotton, wool, polyester, nylon, leather and wood;
• Becoming the first major retailer to ensure that six key raw materials we use - palm oil, soya, cocoa, beef, leather, coffee - come from sustainable sources that do not contribute to deforestation, one of the biggest causes of climate change;
- Increasing the number of clothing garments our customers recycle every year from two million to 20 million, including via our partnership with Oxfam, significantly reducing the tonnage of clothing sent to landfill;
• Launching a five-year £50m Plan A incubator fund to support the development of innovative new ‘Plan A’ products and services at M&S;
• Offering free home insulation and a free home energy monitor to all eligible M&S employees and giving them one paid, day-off a year to work in their local communities.
Environmental and social issues remain important to UK consumers. A ComRes survey2 commissioned by M&S, found that 72% of people surveyed are worried about environmental issues, with 73% saying that the recession had not changed their level of concern.
Sir Stuart Rose, Chairman of Marks & Spencer said:
“Since we launched our eco plan, Plan A, in 2007 we’ve reduced our environmental impact, developed new sustainable products and services, helped improve the lives of people in our local communities and saved around £50 million by being more efficient.
“We’ve now set ourselves the ambitious target of becoming the world’s most sustainable retailer by 20151, so that we lead the way in making a positive contribution to the environment and society across everything we do and everything we sell.
“Our extended Plan A will reach further and move us faster - covering every part of our business and reaching out to forests, farms, factories, lorries, warehouses and into our customers’ and employees’ homes. We believe sustainability is a key ingredient of business success and that Plan A will continue to make us more efficient, develop new markets and build customer loyalty. It’s therefore not just the right thing to do morally but also makes strong commercial sense.”
Jonathan Porritt, Founder Director of Forum for the Future, said: “Three years on, Plan A has become an undisputed ‘market leader’ in terms of corporate sustainability initiatives. Through it, M&S is addressing the right things, in the right way, to secure critically important outcomes. Forum for the Future is delighted to see how that momentum is being maintained, and the intense focus this time round on helping M&S customers undertake their own Plan A is hugely encouraging. It’s not just progress against all the specific actions that matters, but the way in which M&S is transforming its core business model through Plan A”.
Dan Rees, Director of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), said: "M&S is at the forefront of ethical sourcing and its new Plan A commitments to implement mechanisms to achieve a living wage for the workers who make its products across Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka are fantastic and sector-leading. Its plan to educate and train half a million workers in its supply chain is a tremendous commitment. We look forward to working with M&S on both initiatives, and learning what can be achieved by these stretching targets."
Glyn Davies, Director of Programmes at WWF, said: "WWF is delighted to see the progress M&S is continuing to make - with a new action plan to become the world's most sustainable retailer. This raises the bar - and provides leadership for other retailers, as well as offering an opportunity to engage staff and customers in Plan A, so helping to reduce their ecological footprint. WWF is working with M&S on a range of innovative projects aimed at reducing the environmental and social impacts of the food we eat, including working towards sustainable fisheries, stopping deforestation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving efficiency of irrigated water use. Importantly, a strength of Plan A is to measure details of sustainability, so that success can be verified, and encourage us all to make better shopping choices."
Marks & Spencer first launched its ethical and eco plan, Plan A, in January 2007 with the overall goals of making M&S carbon neutral; sending no waste from our operations to landfill; extending sustainable sourcing; setting new standards in ethical trading and helping customers and employees live a healthier lifestyle. While these objectives remain the same, today’s announcement extends Plan A further by seeking to involve all of our customers and employees and embedding sustainability into the way we do business. The original 100 Plan A commitments have been extended to 180 and the new targets have deadlines of 2015 and beyond. The original 100 commitments maintain their 2012 target, with 46 achieved already.
In 2009/10 alone, Plan A has delivered:
• Cost savings of around £50m for M&S;
• New products and services, including 250,000 customers from M&S Energy;
• Cut CO2 emissions by 40,000t;
• Recycled 2 million used garments via Oxfam;
• Reduced 10,000 tonnes of packaging;
• Diverted 20,000 tonnes of waste from landfill;
• Saved 387 million food carrier bags;
• Used 1,500 tonnes of recycled polyester (equivalent to 37 million bottles);
• Saved 100 million litres of water;
• Recycled or re-used over 130 million clothing hangers;
• £15m for charities.
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