Review And Study On Marks And Spencer Business Essay

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We are fortunate enough to live at one of the great turning points of human history. Just as at the Renaissance, mankind began to look at itself wholly differently, so today we are again having to reassess our place in creation. We have acted as if we could exploit the earth with impunity and pollute its atmosphere without risk. Climate change is only the latest and the most threatening evidence that our assumptions are unsustainable. To survive and prosper, we now know that we have to find a different way to live.

‘It has become an unmistakable fact that it is not financial capital, nor human capital but environment capital that is increasingly becoming the factor blocking further economic development' Klaus Topfer, former head of the United Nations Environment Programme and former German Christian Democrat Environment Minister

The business community is already beginning to find climate change an increasingly pervasive issue. We see growing climate instability as a symptom of the unsustainable way in which we treat the planet. We accept the high probability that our process of getting rich on the back of a depleting stock of cheap fossil fuels has carried a deferred cost which is going to fall disproportionately on the poor as well as other species with whom we share the planet. We also understand that ‘business as usual' is an irresponsible option in the face of future economic costs, security concerns and the risk of potentially catastrophic climate tipping points. In the name of economic self interest, social justice and responsibility to our descendents, we have to change. It is time to consider how our economic system can be developed to place a greater value on the finite stock of natural capital that we depend on.

‘We know after the long experience of the 20th century all the things that don't work for human satisfaction (centrally planned economies, endlessly repeated ideologies, ever more accumulation). We know from what the scientists now tell us weekly what doesn't work for the planet (burning hydrocarbons). Environmentalism is now the art of putting those two sets of facts together. Nothing more, but nothing less' Bill McKibben

1.1 Background and Significance

Thebusinessworld isoneof themajor playersof global warming. Increased economic activity ingeneral and theindustry inparticular, hassignificant environmental impacts. And if the vision of short-term financiers made it possible to form the perfect storm that nearly destroys the world fin­ancial system in 2008, what can we expect in a theme whose consequences are cumulative over the long term and where alternatives in many cases put in check the traditional business mode­ls ?

The Millennium Ecosystems Assessment is painful testimony to our abuse of the rivers, oceans, soil, and forests that represent the natural capital on which the global economy depends. Over the 20th century alone, we have lost 50% of our wetland ecosystems and 20% of the world's coral reefs; up to 50% of the world's animals and plants are threatened with extinction; and up to 70% of China's rivers are dead or dying, while around 70% of the original temperate forests and grasslands and Mediterranean forests had been lost by 1950.

(Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Synthesis Report, 2005 Chapter 1, p.26). On current trends, unprotected forest will be gone before the end of the century. In 2002, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN estimated that 75% of the world's oceanic fisheries were fished at or beyond capacity.

The first global assessment of soil loss found that 38% of currently used agricultural land has been degraded (Meadows, D; Randers, J; Meadows, D: A Synopsis: Limits to Growth, The 30- Year Update, 2004).

Thebusinessworld isoneof themajor playersof global warming. Increased economic activity ingeneral and the industry in particular, has significant environmental impacts . And if the vision of short-term financiers made it possible to form the perfect storm that nearly destroys the world fin­ancial system in 2008, what can we expect in a theme whose consequences are cumulative over the long term and where alternatives in many cases put in check the traditional business mode­ls ?

1.2 Company Background - Marks and Spencer Group plc

The company I have chosen to understand the phenomena of climate change v/s business strategy is Marks and Spencer group. For 125 years M&S has been trusted by our customers to offer high quality, great value products. We are ‘Your M&S' having grown from a Penny Bazaar stall to become the UK's leading retailer of quality clothing, food and home products. With over 21 million UK customers we are also an expanding international force, now in 43 territories. (www.marksandspencer.com).

On 15 January 2007, chief executive Sir Stuart Rose pledged would aim to make the company carbon neutral by 2012 M&S launched an initiative, known as "Plan A",to dramatically increase the environmentalsustainabilityof the business within 5 years and expected to cost £200million.

The plan covers "100 commitments over 5 years to address the key social and environmental challenges facing M&S today and in the future" with the tag-line "Because there is no Plan B". The commitments span five themes:climate change,waste, sustainable raw materials, 'fair partnership' and health,with the aim that, by 2012, it will:

* Become carbon neutral

* Send no waste to landfill

* Extend sustainable sourcing

* Help improve the lives of people in their supply chain

· Help customers and employees live a healthier life-style

There is no Plan B.

2. Literature Review

The Literature review will be an important part of the research work. Through the literature review we will understand triple bottom line approach of economics, Strategic carbon/energy management, the role of business in reducing emissions and social and environmental responsibility. It will help understand opposing views on climate change effecting business strategy via existing literature on the subject and do a critical analysis on the benefits of going green.

2.1 Triple Bottom Line (TBL):

It captures the essence of sustainability by measuring the impact of an organization's activities on the world. A positive TBL reflects an increase in the companies value, including both its profitability and shareholder value and its social, human, and environmental capital.

Source:

(Andrew W. Savitz and Karl Weber (2006)The Triple Bottom Line: How Today's Best-Run Companies Are Achieving Economic, Social and Environmental Success -- and How You Can Too: )

The triple bottom line exists currently as a kind of balanced scorecard that captures in numbers and words the degree to which any company is or is not creating value for its shareholders and for society.

2.2 Strategic carbon/energy management:

Carbon is the new business currency (Tom delay, CE, Carbon Trust). This aims to understand the global economic, political and cultural environment in which businesses operate. It will consider a number of critical issues in the interface between development and the environment. It will draw on experiences in key economies seeking to reduce their carbon emissions, such as the US, Japan and the European Union, as well as developing countries needing to tackle issues of adaptation. The emerging global political and economic response to climate change will be illustrated through guest speakers and case studies carefully selected from the international community.

2.3 Role of business in reducing emissions:

Thebusinessworld isoneof themajor playersof global warming. Increased economic activity ingeneral and the industry in particular, has significant environmental impacts. The economic crisis appears to have entered a stabilization phase , and many economists are b­eginning to perceive alight at the end of the tunnel. But the damage has been enormous , so far, with trillions of dollars evaporated and a crisis of confidence brutal. And thereisstill a lot of pai­nto come, especially intermsof unemployment. But inany case, and aninordinatesimplistic and exaggerated optimism, thefinancial crisisishis Tory.

‘Socialism failed because it couldn't tell the economic truth; capitalism may fail because it couldn't tell the ecological truth' Lester Brown.

2.4 Social and environmental responsibility:

In the past, business leaders primarily focused on the bottom line. Today, leaders are invested in the triple bottom line where the focus is on people, planet, and profit. Businesses around the globe are realizing that advocating for the triple bottom line is not only the right thing to do; it is essential for sustainability of communities, organizations, and the environment.

2.5 Benefits of going green:

The biggest and only benefits is to see the future. Its for our children to see the planet and still perform complex task of doing business.

3. Aims and Objectives

Aim of this research will be to determine if there is a feasible intersection of business strategy considering environment, climate change, analysing the practices of M&S Group.

Objectives

* To explain the concept of Business in reducing emissions.

* To identify the key drivers of strategic carbon/energy management.

* To identify the advantages and benefits of going green.

* To Critically analyse the business Vs the Natural Environment.

* To critically analyse M&S Groups approach towards Plan A.

4. Research Methodology

Research is a process of solving a problem by finding information and investigating the unknown (Lancaster and Reynolds, 2004). The approach that will be adopted will be a combination of qualitative research and quantitative research.

4.1 Quantitative Research:

Quantitative research involves data collection and can most often be described in a numerical form and then be summarized and arranged in tables (Have, 2004). Some of the most common ways of collecting quantitative data is through questionnaires, interviews, observations and by using existing materials (Thomas, 1997). These structured, standardized techniques of quantitative research are typically compelled into highly useful set of statistics (hard data) (Chisnall, 1991). Quantitative research will be utilised to measure the competitive advantages of going green and other factors which can be quantified in numbers, figures or statistics like environment report.

4.2 Qualitative research

Qualitative research on the other hand could be explained as more exploratory and focused on getting a deeper understanding of customer's motivations, behaviours and attitudes and is trying to answer the questions ‘how' and ‘why'. The findings of qualitative research are portrayed as ‘soft' data in comparison to hard data from quantitative re-search and they are usually complementary to each other rather than supplementary (Chisnall, 1991). The real meaning of qualitative research is that it is diagnostic. It seeks explanations of why certain kind of behaviour take place and it typically probes rather than counts. Further, qualitative data is more often presented verbally as opposed to numerically as in the case of quantitative research (Have, 2004).

The most typical techniques of qualitative research are in-depth interviews, group discussions and focus groups, which are derived from small non-random samples. Qualitative approach will be utilized to measure non tangential factors of green MBA like employee morale, companies brand image and benefits of carbon footprint.

5. Research Methods

Following data collection tools will be utilised to conduct the research

5.1 Secondary Research

Secondary data will be used to address to key subjective of the research and provide essential background to existing practice on outsourcing, thus developing a link between theory and practice. Sources will include all old literature, books, academic & management journals, magazines and news articles. It will include opposing views of outsourcing and a critical analysis of each.

6. Weekly Time Table

TASK

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

10th

11th

12th

Read Literature

Finalize Objectives

Draft Literature and Review

Review Secondary Data

Organize and conduct Interviews

Develop questionnaire

Send out questionnaires

Analyze secondary & primary data

Evaluate data

Draft Findings Chapter

Submit to tutor and await feedback

Revise draft and format for submission

Print, Bind

Reference:

1. Elkington, J. 2004. Enter the Triple Bottom Line. in Adrian Henriques and Julie Richardson (eds) The Triple Bottom Line: does it all add up. EarthScan: London UK.

2. Andrew W. Savitz and Karl Weber (2006)The Triple Bottom Line: How Today's Best-Run Companies Are Achieving Economic, Social and Environmental Success -- and How You Can Too: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

3. Chandler, A. 1977. The Visible Hand. Cambridge: Belknap.

4. Adams, C., Frost, G. and Webber, W. 2004. Triple Bottom Line: A review of the literature. in Adrian Henriques and Julie Richardson (eds) The Triple Bottom Line: does it all add up. EarthScan: London UK.

5. Hoffman, A. J. 2000. Competitive Environmental Strategy. Island Press: Washington DC

6. http://corporate.marksandspencer.com/documents/publications/2007/2007_hwdb_report.pdf

7. http://corporate.marksandspencer.com/file.axd?pointerid=f3ccae91d1d348ff8f523ab8afe9d8a8&versionid=fbb46819901a428ca70ecf5a44aa8ddc

8. Lenzen, M., Lundie, S., Bransgrove, G., Charet, L., and Sack, F. 2003. Assessing the ecological footprint of a large metropolitan water supplier: Lessons for water management and planning towards sustainability. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 46(1): 113-141

9. Pearce, D. and E. Barbier. 2000. Blueprint for a Sustainable Economy. London: Earthscan.

10. Copenhagen Summit 2009

11. http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/jan2009/bs20090119_936863.htm

12. www.ft.com/copenhagen

13. Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and Hunter Lovins (2000)Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution: Back Bay Books

14. William McDonough and Michael Braungart (2002) Cradle-To-Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things: Douglas & Melntyre Ltd.

15. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/related_reports/article3255969.ece

16. U.S.-EU Summit Statement: Energy Security, Efficiency, and Climate Change: Whitehouse Press Release, 30 April 2007, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/04/20070430-8.html

17. The Climate Group: Carbon Down, Profits Up v3, 2007

18. http://www.director.co.uk/Content/pdfs/CarbonTrust_Apr07.pdf

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