M&S launches first sustainability innovation challenge

Marks & Spencer has launched its inaugural sustainability innovation challenge for start-ups in a bid to achieve its net zero 2040 goal.

With the innovation and investment firm True, the retailer’s Ignite team hopes to encourage more sustainable behaviours within its customer base and develop efficient agricultural supply chains.

The sustainable agricultural challenge aims to identify innovative solutions that offer end-to-end process efficiency whilst promoting sustainability across the full agricultural supply chain.

READ MORE: M&S trials refillable own-brand cleaning and laundry products 

As a result, M&S announced its search for businesses that can help improve its approach to sustainable farming to continue its manufacturing of environmental products.

To change customer behaviours towards sustainability, the retailer has reset its Plan A programme which will help customers recognise and reduce their impact alongside M&S’s own operations.

Therefore, M&S is looking for technological innovations that can drive better engagement with customers and help them make more sustainable choices.

“Calling all start-ups, we’re on the hunt for your latest innovation or technology, which will help us reduce our impact on tomorrow’s world,” M&S head of Ignite programme Stuart Ramage.

“In return, we can turn an idea into reality and offer a trial backed by the scale of M&S as a global retailer, with support from our dedicated Ignite innovation team along the way. We’re really excited to hear all of your ideas as we continue to drive a culture of innovation across M&S.”

Both challenges come after M&S’s first partnered with True to gain access to its retail-specific network of start-ups and emerging technologies and consumer research.

Through Ignite M&S has had access to over one million start-ups globally with future prospects of expanding innovative solutions.

True MD of Innovation and CCO Mike Tattersall added: “Our four-year partnership with the M&S Ignite team continues to go from strength to strength as we launch these two new challenges. I’m incredibly proud that True has the reach and network to drive real, positive change across one of the nation’s most cherished retailers and improve its overall environmental impact through these innovation challenges.”

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