Marks & Spencer aims to convert to a zero-waste business model

Iconic British retailer Marks & Spencer launched their new sustainability plan – Plan A 2025 on June 1st with the aim to become a “mass voice for sustainable change”.

M&S pioneered business sustainability in 2007 with its original Plan A and its new eco and ethical programme plans to build on the success of the first 10 years of Plan A. The new programme is a broad mix of activities embracing M&S’s customers, employees, communities and supply chains. Food related examples include:

  • Making all M&S packaging ‘widely recyclable’
  • At least half of global food sales coming from healthier products by 2022
  • All key raw materials the company uses coming from sustainable sources
  • By the end of 2018 all single portion snacks, confectionery and ice cream will be less than 250 calories
  • Convert M&S into a zero-waste business.

There is also strong emphasis in Plan A 2025 on supporting charities, communities, employee volunteering, and the well-being of workers and customers.

Steve Rowe, Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer said: “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.”

Jonathan Porritt, Chair of the Plan A Advisory Board said that M&S is raising the bar on what it means to be a sustainable retailer. He said: “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.”

In Plan A 2025 M&S has set its first ever approved Science Based Targets. The latter is an initiative resulting from a collaboration between CDP, World Resources Institute, WWF and the UN Global Compact which offers resources and guidance for companies in the transition to a low-carbon economy. The initiative independently assesses and approves companies’ targets.

Mike Barry, Director of Plan A at M&S, 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.”