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No company approaches sustainability more comprehensively — or more creatively — than the British retailer Marks & Spencer.
M&S is the U.K.’s largest clothing retailer and a big seller of food, too (market share: 3.9 percent). It operates about 1,000 stores and employs about 78,000 people. Its supply chain includes 2,000 factories and 20,000 farms. Some 21 million customers visit the stores each week, and revenues last year were £9.7 billion ($15.7 billion).
The company’s sustainability effort, which is called Plan A — because there’s no plan B to protect the planet — touches executives, rank-and-file employees, customers and suppliers. Executive pay is based, in part, on meeting sustainability targets. Store managers compete to save energy and waste. Factories and farmers that sell to M&S are rewarded for going “green.” Increasingly, customers are invited to get involved, too.