Marks and Spencer

M&S and WWF

We're delighted to be one of the charities M&S has chosen to partner with for SPARKS, the high street chain's exciting new members club.

Go into any M&S store to pick up your SPARKS card and register online. Select WWF as your chosen charity and every time you use your SPARKS card, M&S will donate one penny to WWF.

WWF has worked with M&S since 2004, initially on specific initiatives on sustainable fishing and forestry before launching our first partnership in 2007 to support Plan A, the company’s sustainable business transformation programme. In 2011 the Partnership was extended to include programmes on sustainable cotton and water stewardship.
In September 2014, a further commitment was made to work together.  The focus remains on fishing, forestry, cotton and water, all areas with great potential to make a positive social and environmental impact and introduce more resilient growing and management practices.  
Both WWF and M&S recognise the need to protect and maintain the world’s natural resources, but we cannot achieve this on our own.  Over the next three years we will build on success to date, working together on a range of technical sustainability projects. Our mutual ambition is to develop and trial approaches that can be adopted by other businesses, and by doing so extend influence beyond individual supply chains.  

What we're doing

As a signatory to WWF’s Global Seafood Charter, M&S is committed to work alongside WWF, the fishing industry, other businesses, government and local communities to safeguard marine wildlife, the natural environment and the livelihoods of those dependent on the oceans for their well-being. 
As part of the Seafood Charter, WWF is supporting M&S to implement a sustainable procurement policy, ensure all new seafood products come from sustainable sources, advocate for reform of government policy, and to ensure traceability for all seafood products.
Using ‘Better Cotton’
Working alongside M&S and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), we’re supporting farmers in India to help develop ways of producing cotton that use less water and fewer pesticides. As well as being better for the health of cotton farming communities and the environment, this is key to ensuring 50% of M&S cotton comes from more sustainable sources by 2020.
The project began in 2009 and in 2013-14, saw more sustainable cotton produced across 19,520 hectares of project area in India. When compared to conventional farmers, the project’s Better Cotton farmers achieved an average reduction of water consumption by 16%, pesticide use by 18% and chemical fertiliser use by 22%.  
We will build on this success to enable the project to become self-sustaining. This will ensure all farmers involved receive the support they need from national cooperatives to establish farmer federations that will partner directly with BCI.
Reducing M&S’s Water Risk
WWF is supporting M&S to identify its top water risk hotspots within its foods supply chains. Once that work is concluded, we will also provide strategic advice on how best to implement water stewardship strategies in identified key river basins. Learnings will be shared with other companies to help M&S build resilience in its supply chain as well as to forward the water stewardship agenda. 

Dhow sailing boat. Lateen-rigged coastal sailing vessel of Arab origin. Zanzibar Island. Tanzania

Why we’re doing it

We know that some of the challenges we face are too big to be tackled alone:
  • More than 70% of the world’s commercial marine fish stocks are either fully exploited or overfished. Unless the current situation improves, stocks of all species currently fished for food are predicted to collapse by 2048. With over 250 million people earning their living from fishing and aquaculture – and one billion people relying on fish as their primary source of protein – the world needs to be sourcing seafood sustainably and responsibly
  • Cotton represents nearly half the fibre used to make clothes and other textiles worldwide. It can take around 11,000 litres of water to make 1kg of final cotton textile.  2.5% of the world’s crop land is planted with cotton and yet it accounts for 16.5% and 5.7% of the global sales, by value, of insecticide and pesticides respectively. We need to ensure that cotton production is safe for both people and planet by minimising the damaging health impacts on workers and ecosystems 
  • Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh and only 1% of this is accessible. 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water and at current consumption rates, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages by 2025. This poses a major threat to communities, the environment and to businesses, whose supply chain operations need a healthy water supply.
WWF recognises that businesses make a big impact on the natural world and is working with M&S to ensure the responsible sourcing of food and fibres to help minimise this.  

Monarch butterflies flying in warmth of midday sun,  Mexico

Related links

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"We're determined to reduce our impact on the environment and, through Plan A, we're making great progress. But we can't achieve our ambitious goals on our own. We need experts by our side and we are delighted to be working with WWF. The support and advice we receive is invaluable."

Marc Bolland, M&S Chief Executive, says:

M&S Sparks card with sparkle background

Useful downloads

M&S and WWF Seafood Charter (PDF)

History of the M&S partnership