We listen to our local communities, our customers and our employees, to make sure we understand their changing needs and are best placed to help them deal with issues such as unemployment or poverty and to improve their health and wellbeing.
We’ve supported our local communities throughout our 130 year history, because we know that vibrant communities are essential for our success. As David Sieff, a member of the M&S founding family, said: “healthy high streets need healthy backstreets”.
We’re committed to support social cohesion, economic prosperity and inclusive growth - by being relevant in local neighbourhoods worldwide, be they in Bristol, Mumbai or Shanghai. We want to be a brand that employees are proud to work for and that customers can trust.
Commitments and targets
Our goal is to create a positive impact in society and improve peoples’ lives wherever we touch them, in line with our company purpose by Making Every Moment Special.
We’re committed to listen to our stakeholders to help us understand social issues and decide what role we can play in helping to find solutions. When working with others, we try to identify shared objectives for our programmes and to assess the mutual social, environmental and business value collaboration brings.
We aim to take a progressive approach to our community engagement. This is reflected in our Plan A commitments on employability, being in touch with the local community, identifying partnership benefits and supporting global communities.
Our approach covers our whole value chain and includes employees, customers, workers in our supply chain, charity partners and local communities around the world.
We’ve identified four ways in which we can make a material difference as a retailer:
Our Code of Ethics and Behaviours
sets out the key policies and procedures relevant to community engagement. We support a large number of local charities through our 'In Touch with your Community' framework, with stores making donations of up to £50 to local charities, schools and hospitals. We don’t support:
- Personal appeals on behalf of individual people, including overseas trips
- Advertising or goodwill messages
- Political parties
- Third party fundraising on behalf of a charity
- Religious bodies, except where the project provides non-denominational, non-sectarian support for the benefit of a project
- Supplying clothing, other than in exceptional circumstances, as we already donate clothes to Newlife and Shelter
Before we make commitments to respond to a major disaster, we take into account what’s really needed on the ground, the views of our customers and employees, and the whether or not we have strong links through stores, offices or our supply chain to the disaster area.
In 2015, we renewed and retained our CommunityMark status
for a further 3 years. The CommunityMark was developed by Business in the Community
and is the only UK national standard to publicly recognise excellence in community investment.