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Marks Spencers Biggest Ever Local Charity Fundraising Challenge Aims To

Wednesday, 01 April 2009

Marks & Spencer announces today that it is launching its biggest ever local charity fundraising campaign as part of its 125th anniversary celebrations.

The M&S '125 Fundraising Challenge' will see the retailer's 72,000 employees in all its UK stores and offices join forces to rise to the challenge of raising  £1.25million for local community charities in 125 days between May and September.

Over the next month, M&S employees across the country will be preparing to kick start their fundraising efforts on the 1st May. Shortlists of local charities have already been agreed and over the next month stores will be making final decisions over which of these to support and planning how best to raise as much money as possible.

Mike Barry, Head of Sustainable Business at M&S, said: "We're incredibly proud to be celebrating 125 years of M&S being at the heart of local communities this year, which is why we are launching this very special challenge. We've set ourselves an ambitious target to raise £1.25m in 125 days but we know that there are so many deserving local charities that will really benefit from our support.

"M&S has a long history of supporting national and regional charities and our '125 Fundraising Challenge' will give everyone the chance to get involved in something that can help make a big difference - and have some fun. We can't wait to get started."

M&S' 125 year heritage is rooted in support for local communities. Since the company began its life as a stall at Kirkgate market in Leeds in 1884 it has always recognised the importance of playing an active role in the communities in which it does business through investing time and skills, as well as fundraising. From its Marks & Start programme, which offers work placements to society's most vulnerable, through to groundbreaking partnerships with national charities such as Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Oxfam, M&S has constantly pioneered a new approach to corporate responsibility. Building strong partnerships and supporting local initiatives continues to be a key focus for M&S under Plan A, its five-year 'eco-plan' that was launched in January 2007.




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Notes to Editors


  • 2009 sees M&S celebrating its 125th anniversary - 125 years of delivering quality and innovative products at great prices for its customers. The '125 Fundraising Challenge' embraces M&S' commitment to supporting local communities while giving M&S employees a sense of pride that they are part of a company with such strong heritage. It re-enforces M&S' commitment to playing an active role at the heart of the community.
  • Launched in January 2007, Plan A sets-out M&S' 100 'eco-targets' for the next five years, including aiming to be carbon neutral and sending no waste to landfill. Highlights from the last year include:
  • One year after opening, 60% of the innovations used in M&S' three eco-stores have become standard in all its new and refurbished stores.
  • M&S remains the biggest retailer of Fairtrade certified cotton.
  • Carrier bag usage in its food halls is down 80% since it became the first major high street retailer to roll out a national carrier bag charging programme. All profit* raised from the 5p charge for single use food carrier bags is donated to the environmental charity Groundwork, to support 'greener living spaces' projects across the UK. Over £1 million has been raised to date and 30 projects are either complete or underway. All of the 1.85p profit from the sale of single use food carrier bags is donated to Groundwork. For further information, go to http://plana.marksandspencer.com/waytosavecalculator
  • M&S was recognised for the third year running at the RSPCA Good Business Awards for its strong animal welfare ethic across food, fashion and cosmetics.
  • The M&S and Oxfam Clothes Exchange has helped to raise over £1million for Oxfam and reduced the amount of clothing sent to landfill by around 1,000 tonnes.