M&S Plan A sustainability scheme goes global

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
15 June 2014

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16 June 2014 | Will Green

Marks & Spencer has announced it will be extending its Plan A sustainability programme across its international operations.

The scheme, now called Plan A 2020, will include new targets around worldwide sourcing principles around issues such as human rights and gender equality, ethical assessments of UK property suppliers, and establishing a “Global Community Programme” to “benefit people in the key regions of the world where M&S products are sourced”.

In a report the company also said it had achieved a target to make its global operations, not just those in the UK, carbon neutral and more than 500,000 workers in the supply chain have now received education and training.

The firm also intends by 2020 to buy half of its cotton from sustainable sources, source 50 per cent of energy for UK and Ireland stores from small-scale renewable sources, and ensure three quarters of its food comes from “eco and ethical benchmarked factories”.

However, the firm said it was behind on a target to source palm oil, soy, coffee, cocoa and Brazilian beef from “locations that don’t contribute to deforestation” by 2015.

The report also said the company took the living wage into account when it set prices for garments made in locations such as Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, but “this didn’t automatically result in factories paying a fair living wage, so we’re involved in a number of collaborative programmes to address this issue”.

Mike Barry, director of Plan A, said: “Plan A 2020 is a sustainable business plan focused on customer, employee and supplier engagement. We've formally included our international operations in Plan A for the first time and put Plan A at the heart of our business principles. By aligning social and environmental outcomes with our business goals in this way, we believe we can deliver greater value for all and achieve our goal of becoming the world's most sustainable major retailer.”

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