Slower-growing chicken, less use of pesticides, and ethical trading
practices are features of retailer Marks & Spencer’s first corporate social
responsibility (CSR) report.
The company’s account of its social and environmental impact also
highlighted its use of organically-grown products and the launch of the Marks
& Start community programme.
CSR reporting, a relatively new tool in business management, is a way of
measuring a company’s operations in terms of the social, environmental and
ethical effect they have on the wider community, and it is beginning to be seen
as a essential factor in recruiting top talent.
M&S’s report for the year ended 31 March focused on five areas of social
responsibility: ethical trading, animal welfare, community programmes,
sustainable raw materials and the responsible use of technology.
Former chairman, Luc Vandevelde, described the past year as
"challenging" and said it was fair to ask if its commitment to CSR
"The answer is emphatically ‘No’," he said. "We believe that
the future success of our business depends on good corporate behaviour and our
contribution to society as a whole."
Among the changes implemented at the retailer in the past year was the
introduction of slower-growing chicken raised in living conditions designed to
improve their welfare.
The company also launched its Marks & Start community programme, which
hopes to provide work experience for up to 2,500 disadvantaged people.