Marks & Spenser’s Tough Decision.

Abiodun Akinlawon Written by Abiodun Akinlawon · 2 min read >

On the 15th of January 2007, “The independent” published an article titled “M&S to go carbon neutral in £200m green initiative. This initiative is an ambitious environmental strategy incorporating 100 commitments in five key areas:

climate change, waste management, sustainable raw materials, fairness and health.

Marks and Spenser believed that as a company who has “Innovation” as one of their main core values, they needed to continue to be at the forefront of innovation in both general merchandising and food. They also know that several societal and economic trends are expected to have serious influence on the success of Marks & Spenser in the years to come.

However, The Current CEO of the company is facing a dilemma as a result of declining sales which is being experienced across the entire industry and he needs to give a compelling speech to the board to persuade them to allow then continue the energy sustainability project.

Below is an excerpt of the speech he gave to defend this initiative.


Looking at the various records of the data examined over the years, in the case of waste, the amount of disposable waste currently being disposed has been on a steady increase and will continue if we do not make cautious efforts to curb this growing menace. Even M&S over the last 3 years has seen a constant increase in the amount of waste they send to the Landfill. How can we play our part in ensuring the society where we thrive and conduct our businesses, is also well taken care of?

Our work on the anaerobic digestion experiment which is a process by which food and agricultural waste is turned into biogas is going to help to get rid of harmful waste, help farmers, and also generate renewable electricity. An operation which our head of corporate responsibility, Mike Barry termed as a “Triple win”.


  • From our newly adopted policies, we have been able to reduce the amount of food waste. We have also ensured products near to expiration date are sold at cheaper prices. In this way, we have been able to cater for more people who are not financially buoyant and reducing wastage from our end.
  • With our discovery that plastic bags don’t biodegrade and the adverse effects they have by contaminating soils and waterways which eventually enters the food web when animals ingest them, We then introduced the “Bag for life” which encourages the reuse of shopping bags and applied a little charge on plastic bags.


Our customers who are at the core of every decision we make as an organization have given us a clear indication that it mattered to them that M&S was a responsible business.

It will be interesting to point out that the Plan A initiative was welcomed by different stakeholders of the company and fitted well into the tradition of M&S to do responsible business.


We have given special attention to our supplier base as it is the main driver for quality and costs of our products. Innovation in our supply chain process lies the highest potential for innovation and cost reductions.

This led us to developing our so-called Teardrop trailers which are more fuel-efficient in use with lorries and trucks.


We have received an extensive media good will because of our newly implemented models and as a result, secured new partnerships and opportunities


After the speech which he believed was enough to convince them and sway their interest towards continuing the project, he left the decision to the board members which was to the affirmative. An important step that saw Marks and Spenser being a revolutionary towards making the world a better place.

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