Marks and Spencer teams up with Cool Earth

Friday, 15 November 2013
High street retailer Marks and Spencer has signed a three year partnership with UK-based rainforest protection charity Cool Earth, as part of its Plan A, eco and ethical programme. The partnership will see the retailer investing in protecting 5,000 acres of rainforest in Peru and keeping one million trees standing, supporting Cool Earth’s Ashaninka project, 300 miles east of Lima. In addition, the project which prevents 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions also aims to empower the local communities to through funding and training to adopt financially and environmentally sustainable land-use policies.

Marks and Spencer launched Plan A in 2007, an ethical programme to focus on tackling issues such as climate change, waste, raw materials, health and being a fair partner, with the aim to make M&S the world’s most sustainable major retailer by 2015.

Mike Barry, director of Plan A at M&S, said: “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.”



Marks and Spencer partners with UK charity to protect the rainforest

In the half year update, the retailer also announced that it was trailing a new health campaign in Cambodia working with US NGO Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere), targeting 14,000 garment workers in the region to better deal with common health and wellbeing issues.

The scheme launched in February and runs until Mark next year and provides training to workers and management on common problems in the Cambodian garment industry such as family planning and Anaemia.

The aim of the trail is to create a model that can be rolled out to M&S clothing suppliers across the world to deal with the specific health needs in different countries.

Laura Hawkesford, ethical trading manager at Marks & Spencer said: “The project is helping us develop policies, procedures and materials that will enable us to roll out a health education campaign across all our sourcing territories.

“We’re already making a difference in Cambodia and it makes good sense to be a fair partner by ensuring good working conditions for everyone in our supply chains. This includes making sure our suppliers can offer the best possible advice and facilities on health which in turn boosts attendance, worker retention, happiness and productivity.”

The report also delivered an update on the retailer’s ‘Make Your Mark’ project, a scheme for young unemployed people to undertake a four-week mentoring programme in partnership with the Prince’s Trust. More than 1,000 unemployed 16-24 year olds took part in the first half of the year and more than 900 completed the course and 95 percent went on to secure roles within M&S stores across the country.

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