Continuing our journey
In line with the seven pillars of Plan A, we extended our involvement with our stakeholders to combat climate change, reduce waste, use sustainable raw materials, trade ethically and help our customers and employees lead more sustainable lifestyles. We are now measuring our progress against our 2015 targets and have achieved 139 of our 180 commitments, with a further 31 on plan. As we move towards our goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable major retailer, we face some challenging targets: to meet sustainable sourcing standards for key raw materials, to ensure 50% of products have a Plan A quality and improve our suppliers’ sustainability performance.
We have made good progress and 45% of M&S products sold now have a Plan A quality such as Fairtrade, organic or made from recycled material, compared to 31% last year. We now use cotton sourced from the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) in over 900 M&S products, including our bestselling jeans and lingerie and are committed to sourcing 25% of our cotton from sustainable supplies by 2015.
We extended the scope of our external collaborations so that our initiatives can influence behaviour beyond M&S. In conjunction with Oxfam and Business in the Community, we extended our successful Shwopping scheme with a free clothes recycling service for offices and workplaces. More than 10,000 garments were collected in the first month, with over 70 companies signed up to Shwop at Work, including B&Q, IBM and Thames Water. We are working with other retailers as part of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan and we were delighted that other major retailers followed our lead and introduced versions of Shwopping.
Of our top 100 clothing suppliers, 48 have worked with us to implement energy efficiency measures and we now have a total of 35 qualified for our rigorous Eco-Factory status. The launch of our Supplier Training and Education Programme (STEP), made it even easier for suppliers to benefit from the lessons we have learnt through Plan A. Hosted on our Supplier Exchange website, it provides access to a wealth of free resources and information.
Involving our customers and employees
Our customers are the central force for driving change and this year, over five million customers took part in Plan A activities. We added a more digital dimension to Plan A too, using social media to tell customers how they can get involved and our Shwopping app on Facebook attracted over 700,000 customers.
Customers helped raise £1.5m for Breakthrough Breast Cancer through their donations and more than £690,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, through our World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. At our Big Beach Clean-Up in April 2013, 9,000 M&S customers and staff helped clean over 160 beaches and canals collecting over 4,000 bags of rubbish. This year 3,000 schools registered to take part in our School of Fish educational programme.
You can find out more about the progress we made this year by visiting our online Plan A 2013 report available at marksandspencer.com/planA2013