The World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines CSR as ‘the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as the local community and society at large.’ Marks and Spencer are the UK’s leading retailer of quality clothing, food and home products with over 21 million UK customers. They have a team of 78,000 employees and over 2,000 suppliers. In January 2007 Marks and Spencer launched ‘Plan A’ (because there is no Plan B). Plan A is their five year, 100 point eco plan to combat climate change, reduce waste, safeguard natural resources, trade ethically and build a healthier nation. Plan A is based on five pillars. These pillars represent five key areas where they believe they can make their business more sustainable and kinder to the environment. The five key pillars are: Climate change, Waste, Sustainable raw materials, Fair Partner and Health. Each pillar has a primary end target these being: to become carbon neutral, send no waste to landfill, extend sustainable sourcing, help improve the lives of people in their supply chain, help customers and employees live a healthier life style. A brief overview of these pillars can be found in Appendix A. Plan A has been incorporated into the day to day working routine and become integral at every level.
Corporate Social Responsibility is not by any means a new idea more a new label on an old idea. The first large scale consumer boycott in the UK happened in the 1790’s over slave harvested sugar. CSR became more popular in the 1970’s largely due to Dame Anita Roddick founder of The Body Shop and in the USA due to Ben & Jerry’s. In 1982 Business in the Community was launched. This was an organisation founded by Marks and Spencer amongst others to encourage other companies to play an active part in their communities. This has grown and is now also concerned with CSR and...
References: Lynch, R. (2006) Corporate Strategy 4th Edition, Harlow; Financial Times Prentice Hall
Johnson, G., Scholes, K. And Whittington, R. (2008) Exploring Corporate Strategy, 8th Edition, Harlow; Financial Times Prentice Hall
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