Working with Plan A

Olumide Obanla Written by Olumide Obanla · 2 min read >

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is one of the UK’s leading retailers, established in 1884, with over 21 million consumers patronizing M&S stores around the country every week. The company offers clothing and home products, as well as food to its clients in 35,000 product lines and employs over 71,000 people in the 622 UK stores. Marks and Spencer’s global supply chain includes 2,000 factories: 20,000 farms and 250,000 workers.

M&S strategy emphasized value for money, they also had a policy of buying directly from manufacturers to eliminate wholesale dealers and save cost. M&S’s company values included Quality, Value to customer, Innovation, Trust, and Service.

Plan A was a business-wide £200m environmental strategy that will have an impact on every part of M&S operations over the next five years. The initiative incorporated a 100 point commitment in 5 key areas and its core driver was sincere intentions for the general wellbeing of the society;

Climate change (become carbon neutral)
Waste Management(send no waste to landfill)
Sustainable raw materials(extend sustainable sourcing)
Fairness(set new standards in ethical trading)
Health(help customers and employees live a healthier lifestyle)

Strategies adopted in achieving Plan A –
Innovation – The best alternative means to carry out our operations.
Reduction – Reducing the impact on the environment by using recycled waste to package their product.
Recycling – Using waste products to make new products.

Quantitative Impact
          The adoption of the Plan A initiative enabled 25% savings on energy, and 15% less on water consumption, thereby allowing M&S  to deliver 92% carbon dioxide savings. This was meant to achieve zero land waste disposal which will be used to generate renewable energy because they’re no longer disposing of waste, no landfill tax will be incurred – which is currently 22 pounds and later rising by 8 pounds annually. The payback period for the energy of investments is in 4 years.

The renewable electricity generated from biogas will be used to power the stores hence reducing the amount spent on energy consumption.

Teardrop trailers were developed, this was more fuel-efficient. The cost of developing this was 250M pounds and they saved 500,000 pounds.



  • What are their interests?
  • Share Price
  • Dividend
  • Knowledge of the economic impact of not responding to societal challenges will do to the bottom line.


  • Many customers are well-informed, conscious of patronizing a socially responsible organization, and have embraced the green initiative, Richard needs to reiterate the benefits of the Plan A project; the project’s effects on society


Employees become much more receptive to management initiatives like recycling food waste as Plan A links the initiative to their values. Tell them about the fulfillment of being in a socially responsible organization, and how much value they, the most important assets are adding to the general society.


Enlighten them on the impacts of the Plan A initiative on society; and the potential outcomes if they participate or embrace the initiative.


The media was greatly involved in the support of Plan A, not only that, they had given them a green profile, the company also earned many recognitions being perceived as a socially responsible firm due to Plan A initiative. Also, Plan A paved the path for new partnerships and cooperation. Taking back Plan A will undoubtedly result in heavy backlash from the media and customers, as well as the potential loss of the partnerships.

Customers had begun to recognize the initiative, and as a result of developing societal concerns, a large percentage of customers were loyal to companies who took corporate social responsibility seriously, as Plan A aspired to accomplish. Reversing this decision would result in a loss of loyal customers.

Because MS was using the Plan A initiative to attract talent, some employees may leave if they see that they are not adding value, one of the foremost reasons why they decided to be part of the firm was that the Plan A value resonated with their principles.

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