Our global economy needs natural resources. They not only provide materials for goods and services, but also play a vital function in helping to the world address and adapt to climate change, in maintaining ecosystem services such as watershed management and pollination, and in enhancing the lives of billions of people and their communities.
But, population growth and increasing consumption (particularly in more affluent communities) are rapidly eroding many of earth’s natural resources. Although consumption varies a great deal from place to place, WWF
estimates that if everyone in the world consumed as much as people do in the UK we would need three planets to support us.
We rely on natural resources to produce our high quality products and run our stores and operations, so this issue affects us directly. Growing pressure on diminishing resources and poor global stewardship could increase our costs, restrict our access to key raw materials and make our global supply chains more volatile.
Commitments and targets
We want to lead our sector in sustainable production and consumption, offering our customers the good value, high quality products and services that they expect from M&S, while respecting planetary boundaries and the need for social equity.
We’re committed to improve our understanding of the direct and indirect impacts we have on natural land and marine resources, and our dependence on them. And we’re committed to promote more sustainable production and consumption models to address these impacts.
We support the creation of a sustainable circular economy and have made a Plan A commitment to ensure zero deforestation from the use of key commodities in the production of our products by 2020. We recognise how important animal health is to sustainability and strive to uphold the highest welfare standards.
To be a sustainable and successful business we must find better ways to protect and share earth’s resources. Our approach focuses on:
- Ensuring more efficient use of natural resources in our operations
- Reducing negative impacts on the natural resources we use to make our products
In our operations, we’ve increased the use of recycled and recyclable materials in our store and office consumables. We’ve reduced our water consumption. And we’ve set sustainability standards for the materials we use in store retrofits and construction.
We’ve worked hard to understand and reduce our impact on the natural resources we use to make our products. We’re working with a number of organisations to help us source more of our raw materials in more sustainable ways and to develop and implement global standards and agreements.
For example, we’ve worked with WWF
for ten years now, pursuing a shared vision of a market that maintains and restores the world’s natural capital. At first we worked together on specific projects covering sustainable fishing and forestry before entering into a partnership in 2007. We agreed a series of three-year plans focusing on issues that mattered to both organisations, such as fishing, forestry, cotton and water. Through tailored projects we have been able to achieve positive outcomes by improving farming practices and introducing better ways of working. Supporting the development of organisations such as the Better Cotton Initiative
, the Global Forest and Trade Network
, the Alliance for Water Stewardship
and wild-caught and farmed fish stewardship schemes has allowed us to deliver change not only in our own supply chains but across a global marketplace.