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As a business that’s been around for 137 years, we know how important it is to look to the future. M&S has been built on a belief that caring about our impact on tomorrow’s world as well as today’s is not just good citizenship, it’s good business. 


Our Approach Today

Creating a sustainable future is embedded into our mission to transform our business and create long-term, profitable growth. Our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) framework outlines our commitments in driving action on the biggest sustainability challenges facing businesses, our society and our planet today and in the future.


ENVIRONMENT
Plan A represents our Planet-based goals – with our main mission to become a net zero business across Scope 1, 2 and 3 by 2040. Find out more about our approach to becoming net zero.

SOCIAL
Sourcing ethically and reporting transparently on our supply chain practices is core to how we do business and the promise we make to our customers. From the way we treat the people who make our products to how we farm with care to deliver the highest welfare standards is what makes M&S products better – and that won’t change. We know it’s our people who make M&S successful and we want to make sure our employees in the UK and overseas have a safe and healthy environment to work in, which prioritises Inclusion & Diversity, personal development and respect. And finally, we have always served our local communities, and during the peak of Covid-19 our colleagues stepped up once again to help those suffering the most. As we emerge from the pandemic, we’re reflecting on the changing needs of society, and will be resetting our community programme for 2022.

GOVERNANCE
Underpinning our Environmental and Social commitments is our group commitment to ‘do the right thing’. Whilst delivering on actions, we’ll continue to make sure we always comply with our policies and standards.


Building on our achievements so far

Throughout our history, we’ve been a leader of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards across the industry and are proud to be known as a retailer that customers can trust and to sell products that are sourced and made with care. Sustainability is a part of our heritage and values, and we’ve kept it at the heart of who we are over the decades - from publishing our first Code of Conduct in 1991 to first launching Plan A in 2007. Over the years, we’ve set ambitious targets to ensure ESG and Plan A have been embedded into our business processes. We’ve worked across the industry and with government, councils, NGOs and our communities to tackle problems and implement solutions. We’ve made real progress in our determination to be a leader in sustainable business and have met key milestones along the way.  Now we’re going again, using the achievements we’ve made so far as a platform for future success.

Here are highlights of some of the key milestones we’ve met to date: 

  • 100% free range eggs by 2002
  • First major UK retailer to launch ‘wash at 30°C’ programme on our clothes care label in 2007
  • 28,000 Marks & Start work placements since 2004
  • First UK retailer to introduce carrier bag charging in 2008. Have since reduced usage by 90%. 
  • First major UK clothing retailer to launch a national clothing recycling partnership by 2008. To date 35 million items recycled.
  • Zero waste to landfill (UK and ROI) by 2012
  • 100% responsibly sourced sea fish by 2015
  • 100% RSPO certified palm oil by 2015
  • Over 30 million meals redistributed since the launch of our food redistribution scheme with Neighbourly in 2015
  • 500,00 workers in supply chains trained by 2015
  • 100% sustainable cotton across M&S Clothing by 2019


Governance

Our CEO is ultimately accountable for the whole sustainability programme across M&S, including our Plan A goal – reset in 2021 – to become a net zero business across our entire value chain by 2040, and our commitment to respect human rights. Oversight is provided by the Board, and our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Committee.

ESG Committee

Sustainability is core to the M&S brand and our ESG framework brings together the individual business strategies into a shared programme to engage our customers and enable us to report on performance at Group level. Our ESG Committee is chaired by Tamara Ingram, a non-executive director (NED), who brings experience from her longstanding leadership career in advertising, marketing and digital communications. She is accompanied by Sapna Sood, one of our NEDs with senior level experience at The Adecco Group, who also has an in-depth knowledge of running complex supply chains. Archie Norman, Eoin Tonge, and Nick Folland are standing attendees at Committee meetings.

The ESG Committee provides the additional rigour, support and challenge for the business, ensuring we continue our focus on sector leading sustainability performance, maintain sustainability in our customer proposition, and deliver the reinvigorated Plan A programme. It ensures that objectives, metrics and policies related to ESG are appropriate, reported transparently and reviewed regularly in line with all statutory requirements. The Committee also supports the Audit Committee in its review of new and existing risks relating to ESG topics.

Executive Committee 

The Executive Committee, as M&S’s senior leadership team, are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the business, and are accountable for the whole programme in addition to compliance with M&S policies and regulations to help drive change and a more sustainable future for M&S.

Following the announcement that Steve Rowe will stand down as Chief Executive Officer on 25 May, Stuart Machin will become Chief Executive Officer and take on responsibility for day-to-day leadership of the business and the Executive Committee and will join the PLC Board with effect from 25 May. 

Katie Bickerstaffe will become Co-Chief Executive Officer and also re-join the PLC Board with effect from 25 May where she was previously a non-executive director. 

Eoin Tonge becomes Chief Strategy & Finance Officer. In addition to his current responsibilities, he will play an enhanced role in leading the future development of the business. He will also take on oversight of Plan A. 

Managing directors of our businesses are responsible for setting sustainability strategy and targets for the activities and teams they manage. They contribute directly to the sustainability strategy, for example the recent resetting of Plan A, materiality assessments, and deliberations with ExCo. All strategic discussions are informed by consumer points of view, competitor benchmarking, investor and regulatory reviews, and external stakeholder perspectives on environmental and social issues


Working with others

Listening, learning, responding and working in partnership is an important part of how we do business. Many ESG issues are too large or complex for us to tackle alone, so it is vital that we collaborate and work with others. M&S is involved in active partnerships globally and locally, including participation and leadership roles within the Consumer Goods Forum and Business in the Community. We are playing our part in industry-wide collaborations including the British Retail Consortium’s Climate Action Roadmap and WRAP’s Textiles 2030. We are represented on the European Brands Working Group on the Bangladesh Accord, have spearheaded the Modern Slavery Intelligence Network, and our CEO is the Co-sponsor of the Consumer Goods Forum Human Coalition – Working to End Forced Labour.