Photo: Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer Global Community Programme – Emerging Leaders

By Vicky Dodman, International Programme Manager, Business in the Community

Marks&Spencer Global Community Programme – Emerging Leaders

Marks and Spencer’s partnership with NGO Emerging Leaders in Kenya rolls out leadership development training to grass roots workers, enabling a longer-term, more secure supply chain.

Social impacts

  • In 2013 alone, the Emerging Leaders programme has trained over 2000 people, equalling over 48,000 training hours, with a direct positive impact on 10,000 people (based on surveys and impact assessments).
  • 98% of those surveyed stated they now felt they were a leader.
  • For every 100 people trained, there are at least 20 income generating programmes initiated by the trainees still running after one year. 60% of these were initiated by women.
  • 45% of trainees have a better understanding of their own personal finances and are either saving money individually or are now members of a saving syndicate.

Business impacts

  • This model has created a network of community entrepreneurs and has started to show increased supplier performance.
  • 80% of trainees reported that people in their direct environment noticed a more positive, engaged and solution orientated employee.
  • The ability to engage buying teams in the programme has created better relationships between buying teams and their suppliers.
  • Reduced risk associated with the supply chain – key stakeholders have been engaged in the programme and can see what M&S are doing to impact the supply chain.

Having witnessed the Emerging Leaders programme on a recent visit to Kenya, the clarity of the messages and the way they are conveyed are a joy to see and have resonance for anyone in business at any level or just coping with the stresses and strains of everyday life, in Kenya or in London. When we met Peter in Dandora and heard how he had been enthused in his mission as a direct result of the course, I could see the ripple effect in action.”

“Having witnessed ed the Emerging Leaders programme on a recent visit to Kenya, the clarity of the messages and the way they are conveyed are a joy to see and have resonance for anyone in business at any level or just coping with the stresses and strains of everyday life, in Kenya or in London.”

– Robert Swannell,
Chairman, Marks & Spencer PLC

Marks and Spencer (M&S) need to secure the next generation of workers in their supply chain to ensure long term sustainability of their business. Rapid urbanisation, climate change, rising costs, declining yields and scarcity of natural resources highlight the need to develop capacity to adapt faster to change and build resilience into the supply chain and local communities. More specifically in 2013, a report by Oxfam into the green bean supply chain in Kenya showed that many workers were still living in poverty, women were disempowered and most lived in very unstable communities.

As part of M&S’ Global Community Programme – a series of tailored initiatives throughout many countries to address these issues – the Emerging Leaders programme develops and empowers workers within the M&S supply chain to both support business and their community.

The innovative training course educates and inspires individuals to think and deliver as leaders in their work, targeting smallholder farmers, factory workers and community leaders from both urban and rural locations.

“Having witnessed the Emerging Leaders programme on a recent visit to Kenya, the clarity of the messages and the way they are conveyed are a joy to see and have resonance for anyone in business at any level or just coping with the stresses and strains of everyday life, in Kenya or in London. When we met Peter in Dandora and heard how he had been enthused in his mission as a direct result of the course, I could see the ripple effect in action.”

Editor’s Note:

The Unilever International Award supported by Business Fights Poverty recognises businesses that have positively impacted one or more of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Award is part of Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Awards.

The companies awarded a Big Tick in this category have positively impacted over seven million beneficiaries. These companies are helping to eradicate extreme poverty, promote gender equality, support various aspects of the health agenda, and build global partnerships for development between civil society, business and governments. These programmes demonstrate innovation, scale and the potential to be replicated, highlighting the importance of business as a key enabler of the MDGs.

The case studies profiled in this week’s special on Business Fights Poverty provide more detail about the programmes that achieved a Big Tick and those shortlisted for the top accolade. For more information, click here.

This blog was previously published on Business In The Community and is reproduced with permission.

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