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M&S pledges to support local communities & raise £25m for charities with Plan A 2025

M&S pledges to support local communities & raise £25m for charities with Plan A 2025

Marks & Spencer has pledged to raise £25m for charities tackling cancer, heart disease, mental health problems, loneliness and dementia as part of its newly launched sustainability plan, Plan A 2025.

Plan A 2025 builds on the first 10 years of Marks & Spencer’s Plan A, which has included raising £25m for Breast Cancer Now since 2001, and £10m for Macmillan.  As well as raising a further £25m for charities, the new plan aims to support 1,000 communities, help 10 million people live happier, healthier lives and convert M&S into a zero-waste business through initiatives such as making all M&S packaging ‘widely recyclable’ and ensuring all key raw materials it uses are from sustainable sources.

Other commitments include:

  • Colleagues worldwide completing one million hours of work-time community between 2017 and 2025
  • A pilot programme to support communities in delivering positive, measurable change. Initially piloted in ten communities over the next two years, with M&S trialling a range of actions designed to tackle key issues such as unemployment, skill shortages, loneliness, poverty, and mental health and wellbeing. Successful initiatives will be rolled out to a further 100 locations by 2023 with learnings shared with 1,000 locations by 2025
  • Making space available for community use in 50% of Clothing, Home and Food stores by 2025
  • A new collaboration with Oxfam over three years focusing on the UK and India to develop a deeper understanding of the connection between sourcing practices and human rights impacts. Oxfam will report the findings independently, whilst M&S will develop a programme of actions and report annually on progress from 2018

The ten communities M&S is currently in discussions with for the pilot programme are Birmingham (focusing on Handsworth and Handsworth Wood), Bradford, Glasgow (focusing on Easterhouse), Liverpool (focusing on Toxteth and Dingle), Derry~Londonderry, Merthyr Tydfil, Middlesbrough, London Borough of Newham, Norwich and Rochdale.

To deliver initiatives within these communities, M&S will work with local councils and partners including Business In The CommunityRoyal Voluntary Service, The Silver Line, Power to ChangeFrazzled Cafe and Neighbourly. Each of the 10 locations will have a programme of activities such as support for start-up community businesses through a partnership with Power to Change, investment in outdoor spaces, hosting Frazzled Cafes for those feeling stressed or in need of support, and grants to support food surplus charities to fund fridges and cool bags so they can redistribute fresh food.

 

Plan A 2025 launched on 1st June – M&S’s Make It Matter Day – and will be backed by a marketing campaign that includes M&S’s first ever Plan A store take-over with every M&S window featuring a Plan A message and its 70 biggest stores hosting a welcome zone detailing what the store is doing to support its local community. M&S will report on Plan A 2025 progress every year in June and the commitments will be assured by independent auditors as well as M&S’s own audit team.

Steve Rowe, chief executive of Marks & Spencer’s said:

“Plan A 2025 will help us build a sustainable future by helping our customers live healthier lives, supporting the communities they live in and we source from and looking after the planet we all share. We believe we can engage all of our 32 million customers, 85,000 colleagues and 200,000 shareholders in the plan that becomes a mass voice for sustainable change.”

“Through our UK-wide store network we are seeing more and more evidence that communities need support from partners, like M&S, to positively deliver change.

“We’ve looked at what matters to communities, which are issues like access to work-place skills, social inclusion, support for mental health problems and believe we can play a key role and make a real difference to community life. We’re starting with ten so that we can learn, adapt and develop an agile approach that will allow us to support 1,000 communities by 2025.”

 

 

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com.

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