M&S sustainability director Mike Barry resigns

M&S Topshop
// M&S head of sustainability Mike Barry resigns
// He will be succeeded by Carmel McQuaid
// Barry was instrumental in creating M&S’s famed Plan A sustainability strategy, launched in 2007

Marks and Spencer’s sustainability director Mike Barry has announced plans to step down from leading the retailer’s “Plan A” strategy.

Posting on LinkedIn yesterday afternoon, Barry confirmed that he will leave his current post on June 30, after more than 14 years working in the bellwether retailer’s sustainability team.

M&S’s current head of sustainable business Carmel McQuaid will replace him as the new sustainability director.

Barry has not yet confirmed what role he will take on next, but said he would take the summer off before announcing his next steps.

He first joined M&S in 2005 as head of sustainable business and has played an instrumental role in the development and implementation of its ‘Plan A’ sustainability strategy, which is aimed at transforming M&S into the “most sustainable retailer in the UK”.

The 180-point plan, launched in 2007, set out ambitious targets around carbon, waste and resources, water, human rights and community engagement.

Since the strategy was launched, M&S has achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status, switched to 100 per cent renewable electricity and achieved carbon neutrality across its UK-wide estate of stores, offices and warehouses.

Barry was also instrumental in co-creating M&S’s 2022 ambition to ensure that all plastic packaging that could end up with customers could be “widely recycled”, which will see the retailer develop one recyclable plastic polymer for use across all of its plastic packaging.

M&S has also installed a string of in-store take-back facilities for hard-to-recycle materials and has been phasing out single-use plastic items like carrier bags, clothing sleeves and cutlery.

In addition, shoppers can now able track the origin of beef, seafood and wool products across M&S’s global supply chains after it created a series of digital maps.

“I’ve had a brilliant blast at M&S; 4000 working days, not a single one of which was the same as the last,” Barry said in his LinkedIn post.

“[It’s been] a huge honour to work for a great business with amazing people and, most importantly, to have a world-class successor. Now excited to plan the next decade-long dash through the 2020s to build a truly sustainable future.”

“We’d like to thank Mike for his drive and leadership of our sustainability journey over the last decade and for the significant contribution he’s made to the wider industry,” an M&S spokesman said in a statement.

“We’re delighted that Carmel McQuaid will now continue this work with a focus on how we integrate sustainability into each area of M&S as we build a family of accountable businesses.”

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