Last Tuesday myself, Jane, Wagurah, and Dushy and the Sri Lankan delegation attended the M&S Plan A conference in Nairobi, which highlighted all the great work taking place to address sustainability in the M&S supply chain. ETP has been involved in this through the expansion of our highly successful climate change adaptation program to three M&S factories and a coffee cooperative, which Jane presented to the participants.
I found the conference really interesting and in particular a presentation on how financial literacy training for factory workers is helping them to make good financial decisions and have better control over family income. I’m now exploring ideas as to how we can link this concept to some of our own projects. It was also good to see the responses from the Sri Lankan participants and in particular to the emerging leaders training that is being rolled out in Kenya. Jane is attending an emerging leaders training event this week and we look forward to exploring how this can be expanded to Sri Lanka in the future.
M&S held a competition to award their suppliers who have achieved the most in implementing innovative sustainability projects. For the environmental award ETP were hoping that one of the factories we have been working with on climate change adaptation would win. However, when announcing the award M&S said it had been very difficult to decide between three of the entrants, and in the end the Makomboki, Iriaini, and Kanyenyaini tea factories each received an award. This was the best outcome possible for ETP since all of them were involved in our climate change adaptation project!
At the end of last week, the M&S chairman visited Kenya to see some of this work for himself. This is really significant as it is the first time that the chairman has made a trip to see M&S food supply chains first-hand. As part of the trip he visited some of the adaptation work we have been implementing – I’m now eagerly awaiting to hear his feedback!