M&S puts focus back on sustainability with Plan A relaunch

The ‘groundbreaking’ programme is expected to take off in 2021 and will be accompanied by the launch of a new ESG Board Sub-Committee

Supermarket chain Marks & Spencer (M&S) has put sustainability back into focus with the relaunch of its Plan A programme.

The retailer has not revealed the intimate details of the plan, however, the group’s Chairman Archie Norman said “the time has come to look again at our plans and challenge our thinking”.

Alongside Plan A’s reintroduction, M&S has created an ESG Board Sub-Committee, effective this week, to oversee the initiative’s progress across the business.

The group’s first task, according to Norman, will be to agree a timetable for the Plan A relaunch in the New Year.

First announced in 2007, the strategy set out for M&S to become carbon neutral, reduce its waste from landfill, extend its sustainable sourcing and set new standards of ethical trading.

The plan has since been reviewed in 2010, 2014 and 2017 to reflect the evolution of the business.

All of M&S’s store operations, offices, warehouses and delivery fleets have been certified carbon neutral since 2012, becoming one of the first major retailers to achieve the milestone.

Meanwhile, by 2022 the group hopes to achieve 100% recyclable packaging across the business and reduce its landfill waste to zero.

“M&S was a pioneer in creating an industry-leading, fully integrated sustainability plan under the 'Plan A' banner, reflecting values that have been core to M&S's culture since its inception,” added Norman.

“The organisation's inherent and enduring community spirit has been borne out in its response to the pandemic, and in many areas - particularly on sourcing and supply chain standards - we continue to lead the market.”

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