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Marks & Spencer Establishment of Ethical Standards

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The drive to source the most cost efficient products may make companies blind to the employee labor practices of their suppliers. Marks & Spencer (M&S), a U.K. based retailer was faced with bad publicity in 1996 when a television program ran a miniseries alleging that a Moroccan clothing factory used to produce M&S goods, had exploited underage girls with the knowledge of the company.  M&S won the resulting court battle but needed to come up with a strategy to mitigate this bad publicity while ensuring ethical standards form its tiers of suppliers with respect to working conditions, wage rates, and environmental impact. The company set on a path to achieve this objective through the following initiatives:

Companies can learn from this example, by endeavoring to engage a network of socially responsible companies. Failing to adhere to socially acceptable standards with respect to suppler employment conditions; environmental protection; correct labeling of products; and effective management could result in loss of valuable market share and profits.

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YouSigma. (2008). “Marks & Spencer Establishment of Ethical Standards." From http://www.yousigma.com.

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