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M&S to extend sustainability plan

Marks & Spencer executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose today defended plans to extend its ethical and environmental commitments as a “win-win” situation for suppliers, shoppers and the store.

Sir Stuart said plans for the retailer to become the world’s most sustainable retailer by 2015 were “the right thing to do” following the success of an earlier phase of the scheme called “Plan A”.

“We launched Plan A back in 2007, and fundamentally that has been so successful that what we decided to do was accelerate phase two of that, which is still called Plan A, but put bigger and tougher targets in,” Sir Stuart told BBC Breakfast.

“What we have been able to do, is we have been able to reduce prices, we have been able to increase the wages that we are paying to people in the Indian and African sub continents, and we have been able to pass on to our customers goods which are sourced in a more ethical way.”

“Plan A was launched in 2007 by M&S with 100 commitments in five areas including climate change, sustainable raw materials, waste and health had saved £50 million in efficiencies,” he said.

Under the new phase of the scheme, the company has unveiled 80 new commitments including the conversion of 50 per cent of its food, home and clothing items across 36,000 lines to Plan A status over the next five years.