Further to last night’s self-flagellation and my email to Marks & Sparks querying the sustainable sourcing of my favourite nut salad – I was expecting at least a few days’ wait for some ethical relief. Indeed, the mocking I received from him indoors over the first world problem nature of my question lowered expectations for either a speedy response or a positive outcome.
But at 13.43 today (that’s roughly 5 hours of work time) – I received a reply from the efficient folk at M&S customer service. The full email is attached – but the crux of their message is as follows:
“Dear Ms Magudia… I can tell you that we are an active member of the Roundtable for Responsible Soy (RTRS) and the Soy Moratorium, which commits us not to buy soy from the Amazon Biome, an area vulnerable to deforestation. Most of the soy we use is in animal feeds and we’ve set up an independent Animal Feed Advisory Group to advise us.
With regards to the quinoa all of our suppliers are expected to meet our Global Sourcing Principles. This requires our suppliers to comply with national laws and to work towards the international labour laws contained in the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code. All of our food suppliers are checked regularly to make sure nothing bad is happening.”
Was this Good News Monday?
First up – the Soya. So I googled the Roundtable for Responsible Soy – and found that they seem to be the real deal; a partnership involving a list of NGOs, include Flora & Fauna International, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and WWF. Good work M&S.
Next up – the Quinoa. Again – on investigating the ETI Base Code, I was happy to find a surprisingly solid ethical agreement, covering a number of international labour standards, including the payment of a living wage, no child labour and the provision of regular employment. See here.
So whether this was a first world problem or not (perhaps not if the well-being of South American rural communities hangs in the balance?) – I’m pleased I wrote to ask. Not only do I feel like a responsible shopped – but perhaps more satisfyingly, I can continue to eat my favourite nutty salad!
Thanking you M&S.
Right. What’s Next?