Mike Barry, Director of Plan A at M&S, says: “It’s been another six months of good progress including some great achievements, addressing tough challenges and breakthrough projects. We’re tackling some of the biggest issues in sustainable business such as youth unemployment, clothes going to landfill and engaging consumers in more sustainable living and are very proud of what we’ve delivered. It’s making M&S a better business.
“But we are also very conscious that we’re only part way through our journey of making M&S a sustainable, international multi-channel retail business. That’s why we’re currently working closely with our external Sustainable Retail Advisory Board to develop a series of new social and environmental goals to further strengthen Plan A and, in turn, our business.”
New partnership with UK charity to protect one million Amazon rainforest trees
M&S has signed a new partnership with UK-based rainforest protection charity Cool Earth to protect 5,000 acres of rainforest in Peru and keep one million trees standing. It will be achieved by empowering indigenous communities (through funding and training) to adopt financially and environmentally sustainable land-use policies.
Based in Cornwall, Cool Earth, is supported and endorsed by a range of environmental experts, including Sir David Attenborough and Sir Nicholas Stern (author of The Stern Report). Cool Earth’s aim is to protect 10 million acres of rainforest by 2016.
The three year partnership with M&S will support their Ashaninka project (300 miles east of Lima) in Peru. It sits within the Amazon biome and to the west of Mato Grosso, where much forest has already been lost to soya and cattle agriculture.
The M&S investment will tip the balance away from clearing forest for soya, ranching and plantations by giving indigenous communities control over their forest and boosting the incomes they make from sustainable harvesting of forest products such as coffee, cocoa, Brazil nuts and ashiotti (seed used in beauty products). On top of that it will keep over 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) of forest intact, prevent 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, and keep well over a million trees standing.
Project Hope – new health campaign supports 14,000 garment workers in Cambodia
M&S is trialling a new health campaign in Cambodia working with US NGO Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) to educate 14,000 garment workers to better deal with common health and well being issues.
Launched in February and running until March next year, the programme provides training to workers and management on common problems in the Cambodian garment industry such as family planning and Anaemia. Factories that take part also have their medical room upgraded and are encouraged to foster better links with external clinics.
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