Marks and Spencer: Summary Report of the Case Study
Marks and Spencer (M&S) is a leading UK retailer selling clothing, food, and housewares. In 2007, the company put sustainability at the heart of its business. In order to succeed, it would have to change the attitudes and the behavior of its shoppers. As a result, it launched Plan A which set out a five year plan involving 100 social and environmental commitments that were expected to shape the future of the company. Plan A would allow the company to resolve some of the big issues facing their business. They called it Plan A because there is “no B when it comes to conserving the earth’s finite resources” (Marks & Spencer ...view middle of the document...
Identification of Key Issues
Marks and Spencer launched Plan A with the goal of becoming a sustainable retailer. M&S through Plan A put sustainability at the heart of its business. Plan A set out 100 commitments, in five pillars, to be completed over five years. The goals of Plan A were: • Pillar 1: Climate Change: To become carbon neutral; • Pillar 2: Reducing Waste: To send no waste to landfill • Pillar 3: Sustainable Raw Materials: To extend its sustainable sourcing program, • Pillar 4: Being a Fair Partner: To improve the lives of those who worked within its supply chain and • Pillar 5: Health: To help customers and staff enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
The issues to be tackled through Plan A would fall into three categories which include: • People: M&S’s staff, and those employed in its supply chain; • Products: Focusing on producing high quality, value for money goods that have positive environmental and social benefits; and • Community: Recognizing that the company’ can provide a role in helping to create and maintain good places within which to work and live.
M&S is seen as a good place to work and as a good company with which to do business. From its staff welfare programs of the 1930s, through its recycling initiatives of the 1970s to the 1990s, Marks and Spencer has been seen as a leader of corporate responsibility. The company was determined to deliver on Plan A commitments without comprising of its core values: value, quality, service, innovation and trust (Marks & Spenser Website).
Risk Factors for Consideration
The risk factors to be addressed in order to successfully execute Plan A include: The Right Governance Structure In order to implement and monitor the progress of Plan A, it will be critical for the organization to have the right governance model. The organization is a commercial activity and it cannot jeopardize its viability by over extending itself with social or environmental commitments. The governance structure would need to involve the senior executives from across the company responsible for implementing Plan A. Strong leadership will matter and will require a CEO with a vision and commitment to head up an operation to retain the high level of ambition and commitment for sustainability that is needed to implement Plan A. Leadership in the Finance Function In order to ensure success, the organization will need to align sustainability within its core finance functions. It will be important to bring the finance function both into and firmly...