Scotland Food & Drink, along with a consortium of other support organisations, including Zero Waste Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service have been managing an innovative project to help M&S food and drink suppliers in Scotland with the retailer’s Plan A commitments.
The Plan A initiative sees M&S working with customers and suppliers to combat climate change, reduce waste, use sustainable raw materials, trade ethically, and lead healthier lifestyles.
This recent Scotland Food & Drink led project aims to help future-proof suppliers from the increasing pressure placed on them to prove their sustainability credentials.
M&S already host Supplier Exchanges for their food and drink suppliers in London to communicate their environmental and social and lean Plan A commitments to their supply base.
Scotland Food & Drink organised the first ever Scottish M&S supplier exchange in Perth last month and this was attended by representatives from 14 companies.
The event gave an opportunity for Scottish suppliers to hear updates on the Plan A frameworks from the M&S team.
M&S asked their suppliers to complete three frameworks on Environmental, Ethical and Economic sustainability and then M&S ran a workshop session on each of these topics in the afternoon.
Mark Ringland, Account Manager for Baxters, who attended the event, said:
“Speaking to M&S and the other support organisations has really helped my understanding of the criteria and M&S’s future targets and how we as a business can prepare for this.
“It was also great to share ideas and experiences with other suppliers.”
Beyond the event, a unique tool has also been developed, with funding from Scottish Enterprise, which aims to provide a useful starting point for food and drink companies looking for support on every aspect of sustainability.
This web based tool is unique in that it will inform as well as provide a collaborative solution to make best use of all of the existing programs and support mechanisms that are currently available, and where they are not available to develop potential solutions.
Ann Picking, Sustainability Project Manager, said:
“This whole initiative with Marks & Spencer is something new and innovative and has never been done in Scotland before.
“Scotland Food & Drink has a sustainability work stream which is all about ensuring that Scottish food and drink businesses are equipped to meet the demands placed on them by their customers and this project with Marks and Spencer, as well as our sustainability support tool, is a great step forward in being able to do that.
“Implementing sustainable practices within a business will not only improve its environmental performance and reputation to customers, but will also help cut costs.
“For this reason, projects like this initiative with M&S are of huge value to our growing industry.”