About this report

This is our tenth annual report covering social, environmental and ethical performance. Published in June 2013, it covers our financial year from April 2012 to March 2013.


Many different stakeholders have an interest in our social and environmental performance. To make sure our report serves the needs of a varied audience, we’ve tried to provide a balance of detailed data as well as accessible performance summaries. The report has been written primarily for an external audience, although we share the information it contains with employees and customers. You can find more information about all our commitments at: marksandspencer.com/thecompany

Report structure

The Plan A Report 2013 follows a similar structure to our 2012 Report, allowing direct comparison with previous years. The first section contains senior management commentaries on our progress and challenges; the second section provides a systematic update against our 180 Plan A commitments, under the headings: Involving customers; Make Plan A How we do business; Climate change; Waste; Natural resources; Fair partner; and Health and wellbeing. The report also explains how we manage social and environmental issues through our How we do business Committee structure. Independent review in the form of commentary, assurance and recognition is included at the end of the report.


This report focuses primarily on our UK and Republic of Ireland business, which accounted for over 90% of our turnover in 2012/13. This includes in-store branches of M&S Bank but not operations controlled by our partner HSBC. However, the product data it contains relates to our stores in the UK, Republic of Ireland as well as Marks & Spencer products sold worldwide, but excludes non-M&S branded products. The report does not contain operational information relating to UK M&S Simply Food Stores operated under franchise.

Key impacts

A wide range of social, environmental and ethical issues have an impact on our business, either directly or through our global supply chains. Consequently, we have to manage a continually evolving set of issues. We developed our 180 Plan A commitments with the help of stakeholders, in order to address our key social and environmental challenges. You can find further information on our social, environmental and ethical policies at: marksandspencer.com/thecompany


The relevance of data and measurements included in this report has been reviewed at least twice over the reporting year by M&S management.

There were no significant structural changes to our business during 2012/13. Most of the data and statements in this report relate to the financial years 2006/07 (the baseline year prior to Plan A) and 2012/13. Where target completion years are stated as 2015 these are generally taken as meaning by 31 March in that year. However, targets for years other than 2015 are taken to mean 31 December. To ensure consistency we have included some calendar year data which has already been shared with other stakeholders. This data is marked with an asterisk*. Where we refer to significant events which occurred after the end of the 2012/13 financial year, we have quoted a date.

We have recalculated and restated our baseline carbon emissions using DEFRA/DECC’s May 2012 Greenhouse Gas Reporting Guidance.

Report content and assurance

This report provides a progress update against the 100 Plan A commitments first published in 2007 and the 80 additional commitments published in 2010. All 180 commitments were made following consultation with stakeholders and we believe they cover all of the social and environmental issues facing the retail industry. Performance on all commitments has been assured, some independently by Ernst & Young and others by the M&S Internal Audit team.

To provide context and relative importance, M&S management has ranked every commitment in terms of its ‘importance to stakeholders’ and ‘importance to M&S’ on a 3 x 3 matrix. Forty three commitments which are classified as still to be Achieved or Achieved and ongoing were rated as being of ‘high importance to stakeholders’ and either ‘high or medium importance to M&S’ (see below). Ernst & Young have been commissioned to provide independent assurance using both AA1000 AS and ISAE 3000 standards on these issues. (See the Assurance statement page.) All other commitments were subject to review and assurance provided by Marks & Spencer Internal Audit and Plan A team.

Report technical standards

We have used the Plan A commitments we published in 2007 and 2010 to structure this report. To provide a common point of reference we have also used the Global Reporting Initiative third generation framework, G3.1 as a checklist. GRI G3.1 reference can be found on the GRI Index page. Together with additional information available from our Annual Report and website, this meets level B of GRI.

The report also meets retail industry requirements set out in the DEFRA environmental reporting guidelines for UK businesses and conversion factors used to measure CO2 follow DEFRA/ DECC guidance published in May 2012.

Carbon neutrality

The stores, offices, warehouses and delivery fleets operated by Marks & Spencer in the UK and Republic of Ireland have been certified as a CarbonNeutral® company in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol for the period commencing 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013. This means that in addition to significantly reducing emissions, M&S has sourced a portfolio of high quality carbon credits and a quantity equal to gross carbon emissions for this period has been retired as part of the CarbonNeutral® certification process. In addition, Marks & Spencer has self-certified carbon neutrality in accordance with British Standards Institute's PAS2060 at 30 April 2013 for the period commencing 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013 with a commitment to maintain carbon neutrality at least up to 31 March 2014. You will find further supporting documentation at: marksandspencer.com/thecompany

Legal compliance

We had no environmental prosecutions in 2012/13. In November 2012 there was a fatality at our store in Tunbridge Wells related to electrical work being carried out by a contractor. This incident is under investigation.

M&S Annual Reports

Our 2013 Annual Report contains a comprehensive review of our financial performance and governance. It is published online, along with this report. Both can also be downloaded in PDF, large font and sound versions at: marksandspencer.com/thecompany

Materiality – which commitments are most important?