How we do business

We do business in line with our values – Quality, Value, Service, Innovation and Trust – recognising our responsibilities to customers, employees, partners, suppliers and local communities.

Managing How we do business

Our How we do business Executive Committee meets every two months, to provide leadership and alignment with our wider business strategy. Our Chief Executive Officer, Marc Bolland, chairs the committee, which includes all our Executive Directors. He updates the full Board on its activities at least once a year.

Our How we do business Operating Committee meets every month to ensure that social, environmental and ethical issues are integrated into our everyday activities. It reviews our progress against Plan A commitments and discusses ways in which we measure progress and manage risk.

Our Plan A Innovation Board assigns funding to support new and innovative sustainability projects across the business.

Working together with a small team of social, environmental and ethical specialists, our Director of Plan A, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainable Business, Richard Gillies, supports all Plan A governance activities. His team focuses on developing policies and solutions, building stakeholder relationships and managing risks.

Integrating Plan A

Our Director of Plan A, CSR and Sustainable Business oversees Plan A implementation, budget management and co-ordination. Plan A managers and specialists on issues including health and safety and supply chain social compliance, work in our Food, General Merchandise, Retail, Finance, Construction, Logistics, International and HR functions. Plan A Champions co-ordinate action across our stores and offices.

Many of our employees, including all Directors, Executive Management and Management Committee members have Plan A performance targets. All employees who deal directly with product suppliers are trained in responsible buying techniques. Our management succession programme, Lead to Succeed, also includes a Plan A project component.

Managing social, environmental and ethical risks

The full Board completes a Group Risk Profile every six months. Key social, environmental and ethical (SEE) risks such as climate change are assessed separately but are generally considered as contributory factors to wider business risks related to the M&S brand, reputation and operational and supply chain continuity. Information about our approach to risk management and our principal risks and uncertainties is detailed in our 2013 Annual Report.

Our Plan A Commitments were developed and refined in consultation with key stakeholders to ensure that they address the social and environmental risks and opportunities M&S faces. These were assessed against the materiality matrix shown on the About this report page. The most important have been subject to external assurance.

Certified international social, environmental and ethical standards

In line with most other major retailers, we use internally developed systems to keep pace in a fast-moving industry. These systems cover training, health and safety, environmental performance and quality. During 2012/13 we became certified to the ISO 50001 Energy Management standard for our stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland. We have also followed a number of best practice standards in this report (see the About this report page for more details).

We regularly review our Code of Ethics and require senior managers to formally recognise it. In 2012 we also revised our Anti-Bribery Policy and all head office and international management were required to complete a training module. Any breaches are reported to the Audit Committee.