M&S rolls out responsible purchasing course

11 June 2010

11 June 2010 | Lindsay Clark

Marks & Spencer is introducing responsible buyer training for all relevant procurement staff during 2010 and 2011.

The half-day course was designed with development charity Traidcraft in 2008-09 and, following three pilots to improve the content, it is being rolled out across the company.

According to the firm’s 2010 sustainability report, How We Do Business, it has cut carbon emissions by 8 per cent or 20 per cent per square foot of sales floor.

Working with its suppliers, Marks & Spencer has set up 10 “model ethical factories” and provided more than 80,000 hours of supplier training in the process, the report says.

The company also provides details of a range of supplier initiatives aimed at improving environmental and ethical standards. It has set up a team to help food suppliers improve efficiency and reduce costs when they re-tender their transport contracts. After developing a ranking system for suppliers covering ethical trading performance, Marks & Spencer now conducts monthly benchmark of both food and general merchandise suppliers.

In 2009-10 the retailer also built a Supplier Exchange website which has now been viewed nearly 30,000 times by suppliers from 36 countries. The site includes new guidelines on water efficiency, wood sourcing, waste, bio-fuels, “green” factories and social compliance.

The report is part of an ongoing sustainability drive at Marks & Spencer, dubbed Plan A. Chairman Sir Stuart Rose said: “In March 2010, we unveiled an expanded, more demanding Plan A, setting out 80 new commitments for the next five years and our ambition to become the world’s most sustainable major retailer by 2015.”

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