Find out more about our approach to raw materials, commodities and ingredients here.
We are committed to making sure that the welfare of the animals used for our products is protected. Our commitments have been recognised by organisations such as the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming – who have awarded M&S Tier 1 status in in the Business Benchmark on Animal Welfare and have been since 2013, the longest recognised UK retailer in this leading Tier.
Find out more about our animal welfare standards here.
At M&S, we’re proud of our quality and fresh food and believe it’s just too good to be wasted. That’s why we’ve committed to halving food waste (net food waste relative to sales) by 2030 and ensure all of our edible food waste if redistributed to our charity partners. Here’s what we’re doing so far to make it happen:
- Connecting with good causes – over 580 of our stores connect with local community causes through the Neighbourly platform. We’ve donated over 16.5 million meals since 2015/16.
- Working with suppliers – as part of our commitment to Courthald 2025, we help our suppliers to reduce their food waste and make it simple to redistribute to local community causes too.
- Making our stores smarter – in February 2020, we launched an update to our programme with Neighbourly to automate notification to charities of when our stores have surplus available. Since then, our stores ability to participate and the volumes of what we’ve redistributed have really improved.
- Finding new innovation – we are always looking to give our surplus food a new purpose, like turning unsold freshly baked in-store bakery baguettes and boules into frozen garlic bread at the end of each day (with an extended shelf life of 30 days).
- Helping our customers – through reviewing best before dates and promotions and selling more single pack portions, we’re helping our customers to buy just what they need and reduce the amount of edible food they throw in the bin.
- Zero Waste to Landfill – Any final leftover food we have is sent to anaerobic digestion to be used for energy.
Find out more about our Food Waste here.
We have a goal to achieve a circular system where we reduce the amount of plastic we use and that any we do gets reused or recycled. Our 3 key actions are to:
1. Reduce the plastic we use in our business
2. Working collaboratively to reform the UK’s waste and recycling system
3. Make it easier for our customers to reuse and recycle plastic
So far, we’ve:
- Removed over 2,000 tonnes of plastic packaging through using alternatives like card and fil
- Carried out trials, like removing plastic packaging from fruit and veg at our Tolworth store, and used to learnings to understand how we can reduce packaging without increasing food waste
- Removed black packaging (which can’t be recycled) in our production lines as part out our goal that all plastic packaging will be widely recycled by 2022.
- Started a customer plastic take-back scheme roll out for hard to recycle plastic – which we are turning into new playground equipment.
Find out more about our plastics plan here.
We are predominantly an own-brand retailer, branded goods are a very small proportion of what we sell – around one per cent of total lines across the store. Plan A applies to our own products, operations, customers, employees and our supply base, however it does not apply to the supply chains of branded goods. A number of these suppliers do have their own, well respected sustainability programmes, for example Unilever. We work closely with some of these companies, sharing best practice and advice, however ultimately they are responsible for the standards applied to their branded products.
Working with others
Listening, learning, responding and working in partnership is an important part of how we do business.
Many issues are too large or complex for us to tackle alone, so it is vital that we work with others. Our external partners have already provided solutions, improved our understanding of issues, aided us in building capacity within our supply base and helped us inspire our customers. Within our Food Group, we’re working with many different organisations, including the British Retail Consortium, Consumer Goods Forum, FAI Farms, Fairtrade, Institute for Grocery Distribution (IGD), LEAF, RSPCA and WRAP to name but a few.
Throughout this website, we explain how they, and our many other partners, are helping us address specific issues.