It is often said that good initiatives have many parents but an unsuccessful one is an orphan. This is very true of Marks & Spencer’s excellent Plan A
. Commended throughout the world as a bold and visionary strategy, it has led M&S to be considered as one of the world’s great sustainable businesses. People fall over themselves to be associated with this great initiative – myself included!
In my view, the true architect of Plan A is Mike Barry. He was instrumental in persuading a sceptical board that a bold sustainability plan will save money, improve shareholder confidence and ultimately differentiate the brand in a market where competition is vicious and margins are paper-thin. Mike is of the view that M&S has only done 10 per cent of what it needs to do (where does that leave the rest of us?) and continues to shape the agenda going forward.
I have known Mike for a few years now and meet him regularly, he continues to be a source of inspiration for me and I hope I can do the same for him at times. I have the greatest respect for his achievements. I was delighted to see him nominated for the Guardian award for inspiring sustainable business
He has my vote. Now I await the announcement of the ‘corporate sustainability innovator of the year’ at next week’s awards.