“Marks & Spencer Natural Environment”

1.0 Executive Summary

Marketing environment is very important for any given organisation as it relates to the macro environment, the microenvironment as well as the internal environment. The above sub types of environment are very important in the performance of any given organization. Marks and Spencer is affected by the three sub types of environment. The microenvironment at Marks and Spencer involves suppliers, consumers as well as customers, who deal directly with the organisation and impact on the performance of the organisation.

The microenvironment will be discussed in length in this report with an aim of demonstrating how the natural environment operates. The macro environment as it relates to Marks and Spencer refers to the factors that influence the company’s performance but are out of control of the company. This touches on the legal aspects such as laws on environmental issues that impact on the operations of Marks and Spencer. Finally, the report incorporates internal environment issues, which basically involve; men, money, machinery, materials as well as markets. The above are discussed with an aim of demonstrating how they interrelate to cause positive change in Marks and Spencer.

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In a bid to address possible threats and challenges in regard to the natural environment of the organisation, Marks and Spencer has several plans in place as part of its strategic repositioning for future business scenarios. Plan A program at Marks and Spencer constitutes of a five-year, 100-point plan to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the organisation in relation to the political, economic, social, and technological environment.

The plan is designed to facilitate a smooth working relationship between the customers and the suppliers to; combat climate change, through initiation of programs, which embrace safe environmental practices bearing in mind that the company gets its raw materials from the environment and it has a corporate duty and responsibility to conserve the environment. This calls for the company to embrace modern business practices, which are environment friendly such as the use of fuels, which cause little or no pollution to the environment.

3) Identify TWO areas of the natural environment likely to impact on Marks and Spencer in the medium term

Marks and Spencer has embarked on initiatives to reduce wastage by realigning its production roles with emerging technologies, which ensure that there is little or no wastage of raw materials considering the fact that the rate of harvesting of raw materials from the natural environment is far much higher compared to the rate at which the natural environment is rejuvenating. By embracing wastage control methods such as recycling, Marks and Spencer is promoting a symbiotic relationship between the organisation and the local communities, who are affected by the actions of the company on the environment.

The company is committed to safeguarding natural resources by putting in place several initiatives such as community-based environmental programs, which are aimed at enlightening the local community on the importance of preserving nature. In addition, the initiatives geared towards safeguarding nature have targeted all stakeholders including the employees because it is viewed that if every stakeholder understands and appreciates the individual role in safeguarding the environment, this would be beneficial not only for the sustainability of the organisation but also for the benefit of all.

Trading ethically constitutes an important function in Marks and Spencer. This is important due to the fact that ethical practices are aimed at protecting the given organisation from harming any of its stakeholders. Marks and Spencer has a code of conduct as well as corporate responsibility policies, which guide the organisation in relation to its duties to the stakeholders.

Marks and Spencer is committed to building a healthier nation by ensuring that it fulfils its social, political, legal, and environmental obligations to its stakeholders. As a retailer, they use a huge range of raw materials to produce our goods. Because of this, it is critical that the organisation manages the use of these materials sensitively and pays proper regard to how they affect natural habitats and bio-diversity.

But making a difference here is not as simple as they would like. Change process in an organisation is a demanding and challenging process. It requires new types of standards to be set and adhered to across the world. As some materials – such as cotton and palm oil – are traded globally, the ability to affect change may at times be modest. There is a need for the organisation to work closely with suppliers, government bodies, environmental groups and local communities to promote sustainability.

4.1 Description of the marketing strategy the organisation currently employs to accommodate the key features of the natural environment.

The Marketing strategy would become the parameter for a company to be a successful company.

Although environmental issues influence all human activities, few academic disciplines have integrated green issues into their literature. This is especially true of marketing. As society becomes more concerned with the natural environment, businesses have begun to modify their behaviour in an attempt to address society’s “new” concerns. Marks and Spencer have been quick to accept concepts like environmental management systems and waste minimization, and have integrated environmental issues into all organizational activities. Some evidence of this is the development of journals such as “Business Strategy and the Environment” and “Greener Management International,” which are specifically designed to disseminate research relating to business’ environmental behaviour.

Marks and Spencer uses a green marketing strategy for purposes of promotion of products with environmental characteristics so as to promote environmentally friendly behaviour amongst consumers. For Marks and Spencer the green marketing strategy applies to consumer goods in that the company promotes the concept of eco-tourism.

The company has engaged in plans, which has seen product modification geared towards producing more environmentally friendly systems especially in the area of product packaging. Marks and Spencer has invested in production facilities, which significantly reduce wastage as well as preserving energy. In the same manner, the company has adapted ethical advertising policies, which aim at ensuring that every advertisement is considerate of environmental implications in terms of the decisions that consumers make. To this end, the company has participated in several forums and especially those organized by American Marketing Association (AMA) where is has shown support to consumer goods advocating for sustainable environment practices.

4.2 Explanation as to why the above strategies are likely to be of the greatest future significance to the organisation.

Social Responsibility

How a company is viewed by the public goes a long way in determining its future performance in relation to consumers. The strategies Marks and Spencer has adopted in a bid to promote natural environment can be seen as efforts geared towards good corporate social responsibility. Many firms are beginning to realize that they are members of the wider community and therefore must behave in an environmentally responsible manner by putting in place corporate social responsibility policies.

Hence the reason why Marks and Spencer allocates huge budgets for its natural environment conservation efforts. This results in environmental issues being integrated into the firm’s corporate culture. Firms in this situation can take two perspectives; 1) they can use the fact that they are environmentally responsible as a marketing tool; or 2) they can become responsible without promoting this fact. For the case of Marks and Spencer, the company has promoted the first perspective of promoting environmentally responsible practices.

The strategies the company has adopted in as far as acting responsibly in relation to the environment have taken marketing related dimension. Despite pressure from the government through legislations aimed at protecting the consumers and the society at large, the impact has been felt at Marks and Spencer. Governmental regulations relating to environmental marketing and designed to protect consumers have in one way or the other contributed to Marks and Spencer’s decision to realign its production systems towards achieving less wastage, use of ethical advertisements, as well as engaging in raising the level of awareness on environmental issues is an indication that Marks and Spencer is reposition itself for future implications of government policies on environment.

Specifically, Marks and Spencer has adapted two concepts of food miles and field to fork in a bid to respond to emerging situations.

“Food miles” is a relatively new idea in the debate about sustainability. Typically it is taken to mean the distance travelled to move food from the place it is produced to the store where it’s bought. But increasingly the definition goes wider, to include issues like locality, freshness, use of preservatives, packaging, choice, support for UK farmers and quality. Many environmental groups attach particular importance to food being produced close to where it is sold.

Field-to-fork

In 2003, Marks and Spencer launched a new over-arching set of standards to cover the management of the supply chain for fruit, vegetables and salads. These were drawn up after consultation with suppliers, government bodies and other organisations and covers aspects of production from “field-to-fork”.

The company has commissioned independent research to look at similar systems around the world. As a result, they believe our Field-to-Fork scheme goes beyond the British and European assurance schemes used by other retailers, being the first to include such a wide range of requirements. Their standards cover traceability, minimising pesticide use, ethical trading, support for non-GM foods and food safety.

5.0 Recommendations for changes to the internal operations of the organisation to best meet their potential impact.

Although Marks and Spencer has done a recommendable job in terms of promoting the natural environment, there is still room for improvement. The organisation particularly needs to work on its internal environment by; initiating more training programs for its human resources geared towards environment related issues. Secondly, the organisation needs to increase its budget allocated to environment conservation efforts. In addition, the organisation needs to invest in modern production technologies to further reduce wastage.

There is also a need for the company to find lasting solutions to the management of materials especially in regard to conservation of its sources of raw materials. Finally, Marks and Spencer must look further from its traditional markets and diversify its brands to cover new markets as a potential source of increasing sales revenues, which will avail more money to be used in promoting the natural environment. The above can only be achieved by the organisation utilizing modern business analytical tools such as SWOT analysis, PEST analysis as well as Michael Porters Fiver Forces analysis so as to arrive at informed decisions, which are also sustainable.

References

http://www.theage.com.au/ Accessed on 20/05/2007.

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