M&S Plan A Eco Factories – Impact on Suppliers (Aug 2012)
Updates and Sector News
Leading UK retailer M&S has been around for over a century and is well known for its innovative position in management in general, including environmental management. In 2007, it launched Plan A (“there is no Plan B”) which it states “sets out 100 commitments to achieve in 5 years. We've now extended Plan A to 180 commitments to achieve by 2015, with the ultimate goal of becoming the world's most sustainable major retailer”.
Given its position as a retailer, clearly a major environmental impact relates to its supply chain. The company has a scheme of certifying factories producing the goods it buys as “Plan A Eco Factories” (four owned by Crystal Group recently gained membership of this group). M&S states “Working in partnership with our supplier, MAS, the first of our four 'eco-factories' opened in May 2008. Designed to be carbon neutral, the lingerie manufacturing site, in Thuruliya in Central Sri Lanka, combines energy saving devices, renewable energy, waste reduction processes and a healthy working environment for the factory workers. The factory is aiming to achieve the highest status in 'green building' certification by LEED, a widely accepted international scheme run by the US Green Building Council. So, since May 2008, our supplier in Sri Lanka has manufactured lingerie exclusively for us in a factory that's aiming to be as green as the surrounding countryside. That's something to give us all a boost.”
Clearly gaining Plan A Eco Factory Status has significant benefits in securing business with one of the world’s largest buyers of high value textile goods. Gaining certification involves a range of environmental issues and certification to existing environmental standards can benefit the process – some examples are LEED, ISO 14001 or the WWF Low Carbon Mfg Programme.
Ekobai.com is a supplier directory listing over 50,000 companies from around the world producing and selling products certified to sustainability and organic standards such as Fair Trade, FSC, MSC and the Soil Association mark. Our B2B directory is free for companies to list on and the information is open to all viewers at no charge. Companies listed on ekobai.com find new customers from around the world and buyers can short list and contact new suppliers based on ethical and sustainability criteria.