Marc Bolland, Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer, today told retailers at The Cloud Retail Week Conference 2012, in London, that consumers and businesses need to inspire each other to act sustainably. During his session, Bollandoutlined the retail landscape of the future: “When Marks & Spencer talks about being a multi-channel international retailer, it’s not just a nice sentence, it's because it's the world of tomorrow”. He explained that the company is currently working on its in-house capabilities so it can re-launch internationally, with a strategic plan for the brand.
Acting as an ambassador for sustainability in retailing, Bolland used the company’s Plan A as an example to demonstrate that its commitment is not only helping the environment but is actually making money through supply chain cost savings. Bolland describes role models for sustainability as fragmented, unavailable, expensive and stigmatised. He asked: “What are the new norms to drive the desire to be sustainable? We need to create desire, we need to create hunger. We are not telling the customer story.”
Outlined during the session were his three key drivers towards this new norm, starting with the need for retailers to make sustainable consumption more personal, engaging with customers to encourage them to act. The ability to leverage the power of technology is also crucial but most importantly, work to make the sustainable choice the default choice.
Bolland encouraged retailers to ‘make sustainability happen’ – the responsibility is with us all, he said. Bolland also urged retailers to adapt business models towards more sustainable consumption: “If you believe in sustainability, put it in business plans and targets and reward people in the business for it”.