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We have an aspiration to be a leading major retailer on sustainability, but measuring our progress towards sustainability can never be done using one or even several benchmarks. Sustainability is simply too complex.

The number of sustainability ratings, rankings, indices and awards is growing fast. These ways of measuring, comparing and even rewarding corporate sustainability are very varied. Some are audience focused, others are industry or topic specific. Some highlight performance, others transparency. A number require input from businesses, others rely on publicly available information.

We can’t participate in every benchmark or index. Instead, we prioritise those that we believe are most useful and relevant for us and our stakeholders.

Commitments and targets
We want to be recognised as a leader on transparency in the retail sector.

We aim to achieve leadership positions in all sustainability benchmarks and indexes we participate in and report transparency on our performance. 

Benchmarking provides an external perspective on our sustainability performance and transparency. It helps us improve both. 

Our stakeholders want to know how we’re dealing with issues that are important to them. Sustainability benchmarks and indices help us understand stakeholders’ concerns, provide us with insights about emerging issues and enable us to assess how we’re performing compared with our peers.

The key benchmarks and indexes we participate in or have supported are outlined below:

Investor indices
The FTSE4Good Index Series is designed to measure the performance of companies demonstrating strong Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices.

We’ve qualified for the FTSE4Good universe every year since its creation in 2001. 
Vigeo-Eiris, an agency based in France, compiles indices of listed companies based on their corporate responsibility performance, on behalf of the investment community.

We’re listed in the Specialised Retail Sector of the Ethibel® Sustainability Index Excellence Europe.
Oekom Corporate Rating
Oekom Research is a leading sustainable investment rating. The Oekum Corporate Rating assesses the social and environmental performance of more than 3,500 companies. 

In 2017, we were profiled and ranked second in the Retail sector and achieved a score of C+.
Industry benchmarks
Business in the Community (BITC) CR Index

The BITC CR Index is the UK's leading and most in-depth voluntary benchmark of responsible business practice. We’ve participated in the index since it was first launched in 2002. 

The index, which comprises an online survey and self-assessment, covers businesses’ strengths and shortcomings. All submissions are signed off at company Board level and reviewed by BITC to ensure consistency and reliability.

In 2016, we achieved a 4 Star ranking (a score of 97%). See our feedback from BITC.

In 2016, the environmental performance section on the Index was also expressed separately as a Business in the Environment Index, M&S received the top ranking of Platinum.
Corporate Knights Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations
The Global 100 Index is a ranking of the world's most sustainable corporations. The list is compiled by Toronto-based media and investment advisory firm, Corporate Knights (CK).

In 2017, we were included on the Global 100 Index and were the second highest ranked retailer.
Ethisphere 'World’s Most Ethical Companies'

The World’s Most Ethical Companies programme honours companies that excel in three areas – promoting ethical business standards and practices internally, enabling managers and employees to make good choices, and shaping future industry standards by introducing tomorrow’s best practices today. 

In 2017, we maintained our listing and were one of only three to be listed in the Retail category. This is the 9th time we've been included since it began in 2007.

Topic-specific benchmarks
Corporate Human Rights Benchmark
The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark will publicly rank the top 500 globally listed companies on their human rights policy, process and performance, harnessing the competitive nature of the markets to drive better human rights performance. 

The Benchmark assesses firms on their policy commitments, embedding respect and human rights due diligence, remedies and grievance mechanisms, human rights practices, responsiveness to serious allegations and on transparency – and marks these out of a potential score of 100%.

During 2016, we were one of 98 companies from agricultural products, apparels and extractives sectors selected to be ranked on a pilot basis the results of which were released in March 2017. We were the highest ranked retailer and achieved a score of 64% - one of only 3 companies to achieve over 60%. 

Fashion Transparency Index

The Fashion Transparency Index reviews and ranks the biggest global fashion and apparel brands and retailers according to how much information they disclose about their suppliers, supply chain policies and practices, and social and environmental impact.

In 2017, we were asked to participate in the index and were ranked second overall with a score of 48%. No brand scored above 50%. 


We participate in the CDP Climate Change Programme and Forests Programme.

We’ve participated in the Climate Change Programme since 2003. In 2016, we received a score of B.

We’re proud to have been rated as the sector leader for general retailing in the CDP Forest Programme every year since it was launched in 2009.

Find out more by registering as a user at

Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW)
The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare is designed to help achieve higher farm animal welfare standards in the world’s leading food businesses. It’s the first global measure of animal welfare standards created for food companies and can be used by investors, companies, NGOs and other stakeholders.

In 2016, we maintained our Tier 1 leadership position. We’re one of only six organisations to achieve Tier 1 status.
Transparency International Transparency in Corporate Reporting – UK

They assessed participating companies’ disclosure about their anti-corruption programmes, company holdings, and key financial information on a country-by-country basis. Their methodology is explained fully in the report - ‘Transparency in Corporate Reporting: Assessing the World’s Largest Companies’. 

We were ranked 35 out of 60 and achieved an overall score of 3.9. We scored 88% on anti-corruption practices and 25% on organisational transparency. Although we only scored 2% for country-by-country financial reporting the majority of our profits are generated in the UK.

Many of these benchmarks and indices rely on information available on our website in order to rate or rank us.

Because we want to become more transparent, we’re always looking for ways to help our stakeholders find out more about what they’re most interested in. If you can’t find what you need on this website, please contact us and we’ll do all we can to help you. Just email

Working with others
Listening, learning, responding and working in partnership is an important part of how we do business. 

We’re always ready to listen and learn from others. Our responses to benchmarks and indices are prepared internally, but they always reflect the contributions and opinions of our external Plan A partners. We provide information about these partners on this website. 

We’ve worked with several organisations, including Forum for the Future, Accenture, Oxfam, and GlobeScan, to assess and find ways of improving our transparency.