Marks & Spencer: Sustainability as an effective business strategy
In January 2007, UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) launched its Plan A sustainability strategy with the aim of becoming the most environmentally sustainable major retailer in the world by 2015. This case study will examine Plan A, how it has been implemented, how successful it has been, and the impact the strategy has had on the business.
Scope of this research
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Plan A was launched with a set of measurable objectives that were given a five-year deadline and placed accountability at the center. The plan was ambitious, containing 100 targets to improve the responsibility and sustainability of the company.
When Plan A was launched there was uncertainty surrounding how successful it would be in terms of achieving sustainability, improving the brand, and generating extra income for the company. Five years on and the costs and benefits of Plan A are clear. Plan A has saved the company money, generated new sources of revenue, and strengthened the brand.
The introduction of Plan A marked the beginning of a change to the way the company does business. The strategy has gradually become integrated into each of the company’s business units and into every business function. This has involved a change to employees of the company as well as a change to suppliers, and is increasingly involving customers.
Key reasons to purchase this research
How did Plan A come about? What is Plan A and what are the targets? How successful has Plan A been for the company? How has Plan A changed the way the company does business? What is the future of Plan A?
Table of contents
M&S has a history of corporate social responsibility initiatives
Corporate social responsibility has always been an important part of the business
The Look Behind the Label campaign preceded Plan A
Plan A was a natural progression
Plan A was launched with measurable objectives and timescales
Plan A contained 100 targets with a 2012 deadline
Plan A has been a success for the company
The majority of the original Plan A commitments have now been reached
Plan A has generated net benefit for the company
Plan A improved M&S's brand image
Plan A has changed the way M&S does business
Plan A has changed the way teams operate
The CSR committee has been replaced by a "How we do business" committee
Plan A has changed the way suppliers operate
Plan A has resulted in M&S entering new business areas
100% of products will have a Plan A attribute by 2020
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TABLE OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Plan A advertising slogan
Figure 2: Plan A commitments under the "climate" heading
Figure 3: Plan A commitments under the "waste" heading
Figure 4: Plan A commitments under the "sustainable raw materials" heading
Figure 5: Plan A commitments under the "fair partner" heading
Figure 6: Plan A commitments under the "health" heading
Figure 7: Net loss/benefit generated by Plan A (£m)
Figure 8: Fairtrade tea from Kenya launched in 2012
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