On Jue 1st 2017, Marks & Spencer launched a new sustainability plan – Plan A 2025. The eco and ethical programme is an ambitious, customer focused plan that builds on the success of the first 10 years of Plan A and will support 1,000 communities, help 10 million people live happier, healthier lives and convert M&S into a zero-waste business.
The three-pillar plan is designed to tackle the big issues facing retailers, consumer businesses and society today. It spans customer and colleague wellbeing, transforming lives and communities and caring for the planet. Each pillar includes pioneering new commitments, for example –
- Making all M&S packaging ‘widely recyclable’;
- Raising £25 million for charities tackling cancer, heart disease, mental health problems, loneliness and dementia;
- At least half of food sales coming from healthier products;
- Colleagues completing one million hours of work-time community volunteering;
- All key raw materials M&S uses coming from sustainable sources;
- A new 10 community pilot that will see M&S work with local councils and charity partners to support communities to deliver positive, measurable change, the results of which will be rolled out to 100 locations.
Steve Rowe, Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer’s said: “Marks & Spencer has been at the forefront of social change for 133 years and we’re determined to play a leading role in the years ahead. Plan A 2025 will help us build a sustainable future by helping our customers live healthier lives, supporting the communities they live in and we source from and looking after the planet we all share. We believe we can engage all of our 32 million customers, 85,000 colleagues and 200,000 shareholders in the plan that becomes a mass voice for sustainable change.”
Jonathon Porritt, Chair of the Plan A Advisory Board, said: “It’s so important that M&S, one of the world’s most trusted and well-loved companies, keeps raising the bar on what it means to be a sustainable retailer. On all the big challenges – supply chain, climate, food waste, living wage, human rights, packaging, community investment and so on – the pressure is intensifying and expectations rising. It’s great to see M&S leading the way here.”
Plan A 2025 – more detail
Plan A 2025 is designed to help inspire customers to be the best they can be and play a role in helping society tackle the wellbeing challenge. New commitments include –
- At least half of global food sales coming from healthier products by 2022;
- Helping to raise £25 million for charities tackling cancer, heart disease, mental health problems, loneliness and dementia by 2025;
- By 2025, 20% of all M&S clothing will have a Plan A health or wellbeing attribute;
- By 2019 M&S will incentivise and reward customers for making healthy choices;
- By the end of 2018 all single portion snacks, confectionery and ice cream will be less than 250 calories.
Transforming lives and communities
Plan A 2025 aims to help play a transformative role in communities by enabling local economies to thrive, helping to build socially connected communities and improving local environments. New commitments include –
- By 2020, in 10 locations M&S will complete programmes that aim to secure meaningful economic, social and environmental benefits in the communities around M&S stores and beyond. M&S will build on insights and roll out programmes in 100 further locations in the UK and internationally by 2023, then share learnings with 1,000 locations by 2025;
- Making space available for community use in 50% of Clothing, Home and Food stores by 2025;
- Between 2017 and 2025, supporting M&S colleagues worldwide to provide one million hours of worktime community volunteering;
- M&S will enter into a new collaboration with Oxfam over three years focusing on the UK and India to develop a deeper understanding of the connection between sourcing practices and human rights impacts. Oxfam will report the findings independently, whilst M&S will develop a programme of actions and report annually on progress from 2018;
- Over the next seven years the M&S Global Community Programme will help a million people in M&S’ supply chain communities to help build livelihoods and protect the environment.
Caring for the planet
Plan A has helped make substantial improvements to M&S’ environmental footprint. Plan A 2025 will do even more with M&S aiming to make its entire business model zero waste – not just its own operations but also its supply chains and products. M&S has also set its first ever approved science-based target. New commitments include:
- All M&S packaging to be ‘widely recyclable’ by 2022;
- Halving food waste by 2025;
- By 2025 all key raw materials M&S uses will come from sustainable sources, including all cotton by 2019;
- By 2025 at least ¼ of all M&S Clothing and Home products will be made using 25% recycled material;
- M&S will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in its own operations by 2030 (compared to 2007 levels) and, during the same period, cut emissions in its supply chain by 13.3m tonnes (approved science-based target).
Mike Barry, Director of Plan A at Marks & Spencer said: “The first 10 years of Plan A have given us the confidence to embrace a sustainable future. Plan A 2025 is now our plan for a future in which a truly sustainable M&S can, in partnership with our customers and stakeholders, have a positive impact in all we do. It will force us to address questions for which we don’t have all the answers to yet and collaborate with others to drive true change across consumer goods industries.”
Plan A 2025 will be backed by a marketing campaign that includes M&S’ first ever Plan A store take-over with every single M&S window featuring a Plan A message and M&S’ 70 biggest stores hosting a welcome zone that details what the store is doing to support its local community. It is part of M&S’ new Spend It Well brand campaign and includes radio support as well as a digital push which includes a new Plan A hub at www.marksandspencer.com/s/make-it-matter and promoted content on social media.
M&S will report on Plan A 2025 progress every year in June and the commitments will be assured by independent auditors and M&S’ own audit team.
10 years of Plan A
Plan A launched 10 years ago and has since helped redefine the role of business in society. It has delivered 296 stretching eco and ethical commitments, won 240 awards and saved over £750 million in costs through efficiencies such as using less energy, fewer transport miles and reducing packaging. A decade of achievements includes –
- Over 27 million items of clothing Shwopped (since 2008);
- One billion coat hangers saved;
- Making M&S the world’s first and only carbon neutral major retailer;
- 17,000 people helped from disadvantaged parts of the community through M&S employability schemes – over 50% going on to find work;
- Carrier bag usage reduced by 80%, saving 4 billion carrier bags since 2008;
- Raising £25m for Breast Cancer Now (since 2001) and £10m for Macmillan;
- Improving UK and Ireland energy efficiency by 39%;
- Converting 100% of the palm oil used in M&S products to RSPO certified;
- Converting 49% of M&S cotton, 99% of the wood in M&S products, stores and marketing materials and 27% of M&S leather to more sustainable sources;
- 890,000 people in the M&S supply chain benefitted from training on subjects such as employee rights, health care, numeracy and literacy.
Aron Cramer, President and CEO of BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) said: “This edition of Plan A reflects the ambition that has been the hallmark of M&S’ efforts since this framework was launched a decade ago. Crucially, M&S has met the moment by updating Plan A to address the urgency of business action to address climate, the need to make sustainability relevant and actionable for its customers, and the changing nature of retail in our fast-changing world.”
More detail on Plan A progress can be found here.