M&S invests in water security for smallholder suppliers
Marks & Spencer is helping smallholders within its supply chain become more water resilient as climate pressures take hold.
The retailer has jointly funded an initiative with coffee roaster Matthew Algin to tackle water shortages on smallholder coffee farms in Peru.
The Adapt Now initiative will be delivered by ethical trading organisation Twin who will work with companies like M&S and their smallholder suppliers to identify shared priorities to enhance long-term security of supply for both ends of the chain.
As climate adaptation needs vary greatly from region to region, Adapt Now aims to develop bespoke programmes drawing on farmers' local knowledge. The first project will involve supplier San Juan del Oro, a coffee cooperative in the Peruvian Andes.
Rainfall in the region is becoming increasingly erratic and temperatures are expected to rise by up to 2°C over the next 50 years, putting future supply at risk from heat and water stress and increased pests.
San Juan's members highlighted water supply as a critical adaptation priority for their crops. To tackle water stress at farm-level, the Adapt Now partnership will work to protect water sources, install coffee processing infrastructure to conserve water, and develop a family awareness campaign on responsible water use.
The programme will also support the cooperative to gain the Rainforest Alliance Climate Change certification, adding further value to the crop.
M&S head of responsible sourcing Louise Nicholls said there needed to be a collective responsibility among key stakeholders to work together on such issues.
"As the UK's third largest chain of coffee shops, it's also good business sense for M&S to invest in the very people we depend on to deliver the great quality coffee our customers expect," she added.