Marks & Spencer (M&S) and the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield School of Management have announced the launch of the 2012 M&S Sustainable Retailing Challenge.
The competition offers MBA students from Europe’s leading business schools the chance to win £5,000 and the opportunity to present to a panel of judges.
The Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility is running the competition in partnership with M&S, which has a target to become the world’s most sustainable major retailer by 2015.
In the coming months, teams of MBA students from across Europe will compete over three stages to determine which five MBA teams will get through to the London final in April 2012.
Richard Gillies, director of Plan A, CSR and Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer, said:
“This is a very exciting development and it will better prepare the students for what lies ahead in their career.
“Sustainability issues are going to be right at the top of the ‘to do’ list for the next generation of business leaders and by sharing knowledge, ideas and expert views, we can learn to innovate and challenge ourselves more.
“I can’t wait to meet the students and get started.”
As well as being a learning experience, finalists will also benefit from the opportunity to network with senior business executives from M&S who will be mentoring students at the final, alongside leading sustainability experts from the world of business and academia.
At each stage of the competition, MBA students will be required to apply what they have learnt about sustainable business through the completion of a series of tasks that focus on social and environmental issues faced by retailers today.
Professor David Grayson CBE, director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility said:
“We are delighted to be collaborating with M&S on this unique competition which is not only a powerful learning experience for MBA students but also an opportunity to showcase their abilities and exchange ideas on sustainability issues with very senior executives at M&S.”
The first stage requires teams to submit 500 words or a three-minute video presentation in response to this brief:
“What is better for the environment, people, communities and business: sourcing roses for sale in the UK from Kenya or from the Netherlands and why? How would you measure the impact of each on profits, planet and people?”
The deadline for submissions is 1pm on 15 November 2011.
Teams with the best submissions will be shortlisted for the second stage of the competition.
For further details about the 2012 M&S Sustainable Retailing Challenge visit www.mandssrc.com.