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M&S launches plan to be world's most sustainable retailer

M&S has introduced a raft of commitments to its ethical Plan A programme in a bid to become the world’s most sustainable retailer by 2015.

M&S will launch 80 major commitments under Plan A which will mean that every one of the 2.7 billion products it sells every year will have at least one sustainable element. It has set a target of converting half of its products to having one sustainable element by 2015 and its entire product range by 2020.

On clothing M&S will tackle the fair wages debate and said it will ensure that clothing suppliers pay workers in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India a fair living wage. The retailer said based on a pilot scheme it had carried out in Bangladesh, the retailer will be working with suppliers to improve productivity and management practices.

M&S said it will also become the first major retailer to ensure “full traceability” of all key raw materials used in clothing, including cotton, wool, polyester,nylon, leather and wood.

Other initiatives include launching a five-year £50m Plan A incubator fund to support the development of new Plan A products and services at the retailer. Working with suppliers to provide training and education and helping to create 200 Plan A factories which will have ethical or environmental features or both.

M&S has also launched a competition asking its customers to send in green actions for the retailer to adopt.

M&S chairman Sir Stuart Rose said: “Since we launched our eco plan, Plan A, in 2007 we’ve reduced our environmental impact, developed new sustainable products and services, helped improve the lives of people in our local communities and saved around £50 million by being more efficient.”

He added: “We believe sustainability is a key ingredient of business success and that Plan A will continue to make us more efficient, develop new markets and build customer loyalty. It’s therefore not just the right thing to do morally but also makes strong commercial sense.”

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