Despite lagging sales and profit margins, Marks & Spencer has confirmed its commitment to achieving sustainability as outlined in its Plan A, that will continue until 2020. The British high street giant has laid out 100 commitments, including carbon global carbon neutral operations,
increasing environmental and economic benefits to the supply chain, as well as launching sustainable learning stores.
M&S aims to be a sustainable multi-channel retailers
“Plan A is at the heart of our plans to become a sustainable, international, multi-channel retailer,” said CEO Marc Bolland. “It’s become a vital part of how we run our business and represents a better way of working that materially improves our customers’ and partners’ experience of M&S. Once again we have made 100 commitments comprising of existing, revised and new targets with our sights set on significant progress in the next few years.”
Plan A 2020 is split into four pillars: Inspiration, which aims to inspire consumers to live more sustainable lifestyles and encourage businesses to lead on sustainability; In Touch, a series of commitments connecting employees and suppliers to local communities; Integrity, which contains commitments designed to be sector-leading in sustainable production and consumption; and Innovation, which sees commitments that invest in products, services and operations of the future.
“Plan A 2020 is a sustainable business plan focused on customer, employee and supplier engagement,” said director of Plan A Mike Barry. “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.”
Last week M&S announced it was developing a training programme for its marketing managers that will include details on “sustainability and green claims”. The programme is part of a wider push aimed at communicating more effectively with consumers on the sustainability work it does.
M&S marketing director Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne stated: "Even though we have over 34 million customers, there are many more people who we should appeal to. If the past year has been about restating our values to core customers, next year is about reactivating a love for M&S among lapsed customers and attracting new ones."
Image: M&S sustainable suit