Friday, 15 January 2010

Marks and Spencer

Response from M&S to a supporter.

Dear Customer

Thank you for taking the time to contact about the use of palm oil in our products.

You may be aware in January 2007; we launched Plan A, a business wide £200m ‘eco-plan’ which will have an impact on every part of Marks & Spencer’s operations over the next five years.

As a major feature of Plan A, we are committed to ensuring that all of the key raw materials used in our business come from sustainable sources. Our commitment certainly extends to the use of palm oil in our products and as we are a 100% own brand retailer for food, beauty and clothing products, this applies to all Marks & Spencer products.
We are particularly aware of the environmental and sustainability concerns related to the production of palm oil, while recognising the importance of palm oil to the countries which supply it. As a result we are members of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to ensure we are part of a global force striving for a responsible approach to palm oil production..

We are absolutely committed to changing to sustainable palm oil and have notified all our suppliers that we require them to switch to certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), for all our products, as soon as commercial volumes are available.

Also in line with our Health Commitment to reduce saturated fats in our food products, we are seeking to minimise the use of palm oil, removing it from our products wherever possible and replacing it with a healthier alternative.

In addition, to acknowledge the potential environmental issues resulting from palm fruit cultivation, in September this year we formalised a partnership with the WWF to assist in funding their Heart of Borneo programme. The programme aims to protect and conserve key areas of Borneo, as well as working to ensure critical freshwater sources are sustainably managed, supporting responsible forestry management through Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, and encouraging plantation owners in and around the Heart of Borneo to join the RSPO.
As a further demonstration of the fact that we are adopting a ‘joined up’ approach to these issues, we have postponed any move towards palm and soya based biofuels until such time as recognised sustainable sources, based on internationally agreed sustainability principles (Round Tables for Sustainable Palm Oil and Responsible Soya – RSPO and RTRS).

Please be reassured that we are working closely with the industry to introduce certified sustainable palm oil as soon as possible. In the meantime, we are also working with organisations such as the WWF to address issues on the ground that are somewhat outside of our control currently.

Thank you once again for taking the time to email us about this important issue, I hope that you can continue to shop in our stores with confidence.

Please be aware that this email has been generated from a ‘no reply’ email address.

If we can help you any further, please contact us via our website. You can do this by clicking the following link and selecting 'instore service and feedback':

Alternatively, you can call us on 0845 302 1234 where we will be happy to assist you further.

Kind Regards

Marks & Spencer Customer Services