Environmental risks and social inequality are making the world more complicated and unpredictable. Customers are increasingly aware of their personal impact on the world and businesses must work hard to build and maintain their trust. Growing pressure on natural resources and poor global stewardship may increase our costs, restrict our access to key raw materials and make our global supply chains more volatile.
Against this backdrop, Marks & Spencer is on a journey to make our business more sustainable. We believe a successful business must also be environmentally and socially sustainable. This belief isn’t new. We’ve always maintained that business practices that benefit society improve our long-term performance. Over the decades we’ve never stood still. We launched Plan A in 2007 to move towards a holistic approach that addresses all the sustainability issues affecting our business and supply chains.
It is a business plan, designed to equip us for a future in which our success in staying relevant for customers will depend on our ability to deliver exceptional products and services in a world that is increasingly resource constrained and experiencing social change. We made 100 commitments to tackle five big issues – climate change, waste, resources, fair partnerships and health. These issues are still as relevant as ever. They’re the beating heart of Plan A. We launched Plan A 2025 in 2017 which strengthens our commitment to address these issues with 100 bold new targets. Crucially, it forces us to address questions to which we don’t yet have answers, but must address if we are to become a truly sustainable retailer.
We’re making Plan A integral to our all aspects of our business by implementing:
• Central coordination
• Local ownership
• Building capacity and capability
• Performance incentives
• Engaging transparently with stakeholders
• Engaging the value chain
• Leading with others to accelerate change
• Monitoring and reporting
•Sustainability benchmarks and indices
• Certified social, environmental and ethical standards
Find out more about our Plan A 2025 Commitments on: https://corporate.marksandspencer. com/documents/plan-a/plan-a-2025commitments.pdf
Plan A underpins our unique business model which is enabling us to create long-term value through the effective use of resources and relationships. We manage these in line with our core values of Inspiration, Innovation, Integrity and In Touch. These values influence how we behave and they run through everything we do – they are integral to the M&S brand and our promise to our customers: Making Every Moment Special.
We recognise that no M&S product or service can ever be ‘special’ unless it embodies our unswerving commitment to have a positive impact on wellbeing, communities and the planet. Listening, learning, responding and working in partnership is an important part of how we do business. Many Plan A issues are too large or complex for us to tackle alone, so it is vital that we work with others.
Our external partners have already provided solutions, improved our understanding of issues, and helped us inspire our customers. To give just two examples, Oxfam is helping us encourage clothes reuse and recycling through Shwopping, while WWF has helped us tackle environmental issues associated with water, cotton, wood, fish and sourcing of palm oil. The M&S Plan A, because there is no plan B.