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Mike Barry

Former Director of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer

Speaker Themes

  • Sustainability

About Mike

Mike Barry is a change agent, committed to helping business big and small, new and established to prepare for and succeed in the great sustainability disruption that will wash through the economy in the 2020s.

Speaker Biography

Mike was until recently Director of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer, spearheading its ground-breaking Plan A (because there is no Plan B for the one planet we have) sustainability programme. 

In ten years Plan A delivered £750m of net business benefit and has over the years won 230 awards. Plan A was used as a platform to influence the wider business sector to adopt more sustainable business practice.

His work on Plan created huge strategic value for the business including brand differentiation, operational efficiency, revenue growth, supply chain resilience, employee motivation. 

Created and supported the formal Governance structure to underpin the implementation of Plan A and the annual preparation of the M&S sustainability report.


  • Evolved Plan A to become a change management programme designed to make sustainability ‘how M&S does business’ engaging all 78,000 employees globally using annual director bonus targets linked to growth in sales of products with Plan A built into them; an innovation fund to spark new ideas; and integration of sustainability into core business processes.

  • Created a ‘virtual’ team to support this change programme based on champions at every level of the business, from boardroom; to technology (R&D) teams; supply chain management; HR; buying; marketing; and the shopfloor. Nurtured, developed and supported this virtual team, making them the heroes for sustainability

  • Built stakeholder engagement into every aspect of M&S’ environmental and social activities based on dialogue, trust and the willingness to develop engagement into wide ranging mutually beneficial partnership (e.g. WWF, Oxfam, Unicef)

  • Created an outward looking innovation culture around Plan A based on participation in the world’s leading collaboration platforms for sustainability (e.g. Sustainability Consortium, World Economic Forum, Business for Social Responsibility).

  • Led external partnerships to scale sustainability across the global economy, including the protection of Brazil’s Cerrado Ecosystem from soy planting and a commitment by 40+ clothing companies to commit to using 100% sustainable cotton.

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