Leading Chief Sustainability Officer with rich experience of integrating social and environmental issues into corporate strategy, culture, leadership and process
Coalition builder bringing multi-national companies together to collaborate on tackling some of the world’s great challenges – climate change, plastics and human rights
Change maker inspiring individuals, communities and organizations to recognize the need for sustainable change, how to change and the positive potential for change
Mike Barry is an established and innovative sustainable change maker for businesses. As former Marks and Spencer’s sustainability director, Mike implemented his ground-breaking program, ‘Plan A’ and delivered £750m of net business benefit in ten years. This was named ‘Plan A’ as he states there is no Plan B for the one world we have.
The Role of ‘Plan A’ in Marks and Spencer’s
The success of ‘Plan A’ became a platform to influence the wider business sector to adopt more sustainable business practices. During his time at Marks and Spencer’s, Mike worked on developing ‘Plan A’ to create strategic value for the business. This included brand differentiation, operational efficiency, revenue growth, supply chain resilience and employee motivation. Additionally, there was the creation and support of the formal Governance structure to underpin the implementation of ‘Plan A’ and the annual preparation of the M&S sustainability report. This led to the evolvement of ‘Plan A’ becoming a Change Management Programme.
The Change Management Programme involved the engagement of all 78,000 employees globally. By proposing an annual director bonus target, linked to growth in sales of products with ‘Plan A’ built into them, the integration of sustainability entered into core business processes and thus leading to an innovation fund to spark new ideas. Mike also created a ‘virtual’ team to support the programme based on champions at every level of the business, from boardroom to technology teams, supply chain management, HR, buying, marketing and the shopfloor. Each virtual team was nurtured, developed and supported, making them heroes for sustainability.
Additionally, Mike built Stakeholder Engagement into every aspect of M&S’ environmental and social activities based on dialogue, trust and the willingness to develop engagement into the wide ranging mutually beneficial partnerships (e.g. WWF, Oxfam, Unicef).
During Mike’s time at M&S, he created an outward looking innovation culture around ‘Plan A’ based on the participation in the world’s leading collaboration platforms for sustainability. (E.g. Sustainability Consortium, World Economic Forum, Business for Social Responsibility).
Achievements as a Sustainable Change Maker
Mike has led external partnerships to scale sustainability across the global economy. This includes the protection of Brazil’s Cerrado Ecosystem from soy planting and a commitment by 40+ clothing companies to commit to using 100% sustainable cotton. He has dealt with a wide range of technical sustainability challenges (commodity sourcing, water use, manufacturing, climate change, waste/packaging, animal welfare, product labelling, customer engagement and product take-back etc) across global operations and supply chain.
As an established leader in the sustainable journey our planet is undergoing, Mike has acted as the business spokesperson on sustainability dealing with all aspects of global, national and local press. These include high-profile, challenging interviews in front of live, multi-million audiences which makes Mike a brilliant public speaker with confidence and humbled knowledge. He has exceptional drive, integrity and personal resilience through periods of management change, takeover battles and challenging trading.
Mike is an active social media user, publishing blogs and articles on his LinkedIn profile. He has built an empire of over 50,000+ following to inform, engage and share his humbled knowledge on the biggest issues of our time.
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