Better Cotton Joins M&S in New Podcast Series

BCI Retailer and Brand Member M&S has launched a new behind-the-scenes podcast series which explores topics such as sustainability and the history of the high street.

In the first episode, BCI’s COO Lena Staafgard joins M&S’s Director of Plan A, Mike Barry, to discuss the sustainable future of cotton.

Listen to the podcast below.Access the M&S podcast series here.


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Keynote Speakers Confirmed for Better Cotton’s 2015 Members’ Meeting

We are pleased to announce that Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer and Jos√© Sette, Executive Director of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) will be Keynote Speakersat our 2015 Members’ Meeting in June.

Mike Barry sits on the board of the World Environment Centre and BiTC’s Mayday Network and in May 2011, was named the Guardian’s inaugural Sustainable Business Innovator of the Year. He was part of the small team that developed Marks and Spencer’s ground-breaking Plan A, a 100 point, 5 year plan to address a wide range of environmental and social issues for the company.

Prior to his role as the Executive Director of ICAC, José Sette served as an Executive Director at the International Coffee Organization (ICO) and has a wealth of experience in international trade and agricultural commodities.

Members can hear Mike Barry and Jos√© Sette speak in Istanbul on June 9th and 10th respectively. If you haven’t already, you can register to attend the 2015 Members’ Meeting byclicking here.

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M&S Plan A update quotes almost a third of cotton sourced as Better Cotton.

Following a successful initial 6 months of Marks and Spencers’ Plan A 2020, the BCI Pioneer member have released a half year update. The report highlights that almost a third of the cotton sourced by Marks and Spencer this yearwas grown to BCI standards. This equates to enough cotton to produce around 50 million products, including underwear, school uniform, dresses and bedding.

Mike Barry, Director ofPlan A, says: ”It’s been an exciting first six months for Plan A 2020. It is helping us stand up and take action on the sustainable retail challenges of today and tomorrow. Our products are becoming more sustainable, we’re testing new technology that could transform our future operations and we’re supporting causes that make a real difference to the future for our customers and the local communities we operate in.”

Plan A was originally launched in 2007 as a 100-commitment, five-year eco and ethical plan to transform the way Marks and Spencer operateand sourceits products. In 2010the strategy was strengthened with 80 new commitments, and re-launched in June this year as Plan A 2020. The update,Mike Barry says ”aims to make an impact on M&S operations across the world and engaging customers, employees and partners in more sustainable lifestyles and ways of doing business.”

Marks and Spencer have been a Pioneer Member of BCI since 2010, and are committed to sourcing 50% of their cotton as more sustainable cotton by 2020, including Better Cotton, Fairtrade, Organic and recycled cotton.


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M&S makes progress on ‘Plan A’

Publication June 2013

Marks and Spencer has forged ahead with plans to educate 500,000 of its supply chain workers in areas such as employee rights, as well as boosting the amount of sustainable cotton used in its products, according to its latest “Plan A’ report.

So far, 244,000 workers largely in India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh and China have been trained up in topics such as nutritional education and family planning, financial literacy, employee rights and employment contracts, putting the retailer on course to meet its target of educating 500,000 by 2015.

Other areas of progress include the sustainable sourcing of cotton – M&S hopes to buy 25 per cent of cotton in this way by 2015. Currently, 11 per cent of the cotton used to make M&S products is either Fairtrade, Organic, Recycled or grown to Better Cotton Initiativestandards, up from 3.8 per cent in 2011/12.

To read the full article, click here.

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