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July 28, 2009

Retail giant’s AGM puts sustainability and prudence to the fore

Despite turbulent trading conditions, UK retailer Marks & Spencer pressed ahead with its landmark Annual General Meeting in July, marking 125 years in business. The event laid a marker in terms of sustainability and stakeholder value for other large companies to follow.
Experiential marketing agency Jack Morton Worldwide was appointed for the sixth consecutive to deliver the event, which was held at the Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.

An environment set and experience was created to positively reflect Marks & Spencer’s spirited brand image, while being mindful of the need to overtly demonstrate prudent use of shareholders’ funds.

As part of its 125th anniversary, the legendary retailer celebrated the Best of British with a Tasting Bar, serving a selection of British produce, including strawberries, cheese, ale, pork pies and chutneys.

Delegates could also pose their questions to a variety of Marks & Spencer experts in the Meet the Experts zone.

The event also featured an exhibition area, which was dressed with creative displays that showcased some of the retailer’s best-selling products, including a kitchen mock up, complete with fridge packed full of Marks & Spencer goodies.

All shareholders were given a ‘bag for life’ after the meeting, containing various Marks & Spencer merchandise, including fair trade tea and shortbread biscuits.

The 2,000 shareholders were encouraged to pre-register questions, which were put to Marks & Spencer board members. And for those who were unable to attend on the day, the AGM was broadcast over the company website – this year 600 shareholders logged on.

Working closely with Jack Morton’s own sustainability policy and Marks & Spencer’s eco-plan, ‘Plan A’, all the agency’s suppliers were asked to complete a questionnaire ensuring that they conformed to both companies’ strict policies.

On-site, recycling systems were used front and back of house for all materials. Meanwhile, all print collateral (including menus, signage and branding) was printed on recycled and recyclable paper or canvas. In addition, main staging and brand elements are stored and re-used each year, reducing waste sent to landfill, one of Plan A’s key strategies.

“We are delighted to be continuing our relationship with Marks & Spencer by working on this key event in their communications calendar,” said Julian Pullan, executive vice president and managing director EMEA of Jack Morton Worldwide.

“We have continued to work in line with Marks & Spencer’s Plan A, and Jack Morton’s own sustainability programme as, even during this economic downturn, being green is still high up on our agenda.”

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