Pillar 2

Make Plan A how we do business

We can make sustainability ‘the business we do’ in M&S by integrating Plan A into every aspect of our operations – including the products we develop and sell, the stores we build or refit and the way we work with our suppliers and engage our employees.

Creating new jobs through Marks & Start

This year we’ve taken our Marks & Start work experience programme to a whole new level – helping over 500 disadvantaged people find employment after they completed work placements with us. We provided 1,100 placements in 2012/13, a quarter of which went to people under 25 years old, and achieved an estimated into work rate of 50% – the best rate yet since we launched Marks & Start in 2004.

Working together with Remploy, we’ve also launched Marks & Start Logistics at our new distribution centre in Castle Donington, where 30 people with disabilities have already found jobs through the programme. Alongside Marks & Start, we’ve also welcomed a further estimated 2,000 school and college students onto work experience placements this year.

The future of Plan A

Innovative thinking is essential to the success of Plan A and thanks to the Plan A Innovation Fund we’ve launched a number of promising projects. These include ideas for developing more sustainable clothing fabrics, original thinking about ways to improve labour standards in our supply chains and a joint project with the Natural Environment Research Council to improve the way we share knowledge and work with our suppliers.

Expanding our Eco-Factories

Since 2010, 48 of our top 100 clothing suppliers have worked with us to implement valuable energy efficiency measures, while 35 have gone further and qualified for our rigorous Eco-Factory status.

Welcome to the biggest, greenest M&S store yet

In August 2012 we opened the doors at our biggest greenest store yet – Cheshire Oaks. This store has been planned and constructed on a significantly bigger scale from previous eco-stores and its sustainable credentials are impressive. Its green features including hemp walls, glulam timber girders, rainwater recycling and biomass heating systems, plus a 300m3 ‘living wall’.