The Sustainable Fashion Textiles Research Project

The Sustainable Fashion Textiles Research Project’ funded by Marks and Spencer PLC

Marks and Spencer PLC commissioned me to produce risk assessment business reports, which investigated the Marks and Spencer global clothing supply, production and disposal chains, via fiber type, a model developed in my PhD at the RCA in 2000. The report analysed business practices with regard to sustainability, and assessed integrated product policy through field trips, and interviews with senior managers, buyers and manufacturers. The holistic approach SWOT analysis to supply chain issues (people/ profit/ planet) was a departure from the usual qualitative company methods at that time.

Supply chain improvements resulting from the extensive findings were applied across the business, first, in the food sector. The report’s findings (the first if its type relating to sustainable issues) informed the company corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy (download pdf), which contributed to Marks and Spencer being the first supermarket chain to feature on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (footsie4good). Application of the research recommendations led to the business adopting a more sustainable ethos, and the intention, announced in 2007, to become one of the first carbon neutral retail businesses by 2012.