Marks & Spencer Polls Over 60,000 Workers in Five Countries with Mobile Technology

Using Labor Link technology, M&S has gathered anonymous worker feedback on topics including working conditions and health & safety
Oct 21, 2014 9:00 AM ET
Campaign: Press Releases

October 21, 2014 /3BL Media/ - Marks & Spencer (M&S) has scaled up its use of mobile technology in the supply chain to poll 64,230 workers across 46 manufacturing locations in 5 countries (China, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the UK) – exceeding its target of 22,500 workers in 30 factories by more than double.

Mobile survey data revealed interesting differences in knowledge among workers in areas such as workplace communications. For example, more factory management responded affirmatively to the question “Is there a way workers can submit a written complaint when they have a work related-problem?”  than workers did. M&S will use this data develop training programs on Workplace Communications and align the company’s business practices with worker needs.

“Listening to workers in this way helps us connect the dots between quality of life issues like workplace health and safety and business issues in manufacturing, such as worker retention and productivity,” said M&S Head of Ethical Trading Fiona Sadler.

This is the first time these workers have had an anonymous channel to report on sensitive issues like harassment and bullying, working hours, and communication with their supervisors. With more detailed data, M&S is able to go beyond auditing to engage in a new kind of conversation with suppliers.

“With 44% of workers choosing to participate voluntarily, we see a higher degree of trust and scalability in anonymous mobile surveys, compared to more traditional methods of connecting with workers through interviews,” said Heather Franzese, Executive Director of the organization behind the Labor Link platform.

Labor Link is flexible enough to reach workers with different technology preferences, and manufacturing almost any product type. In Bangladesh, workers use basic feature phones and can access pre-recorded questions to address low literacy rates. In China, Labor Link is available through a WeChat application for workers with smartphones, giving workers the option to use the technology they prefer.

M&S and Good World Solutions were shortlisted for “Best Business/NGO Partnership” in Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Awards 2014. Through this work, M&S has sought to inspire a movement of leading brands and retailers in the US and UK that are now using mobile to connect with workers for deeper supply chain transparency. The strategy is aligned with the company’s Plan A 2020 values of being in touch, doing business with integrity, and supporting innovation across the business.



For further information please contact:

Emily Dimmock                      Marks & Spencer Corporate PR

+44 (0)20 8718 1223   

Heather Franzese                   Good World Solutions



Notes to Editors:     

About Plan A 2020

Plan A is Marks & Spencer’s 100 commitment eco and ethical programme that tackles both today’s and tomorrow’s sustainable retail challenges. Launched in 2007, the plan has helped M&S send no waste to landfill, become carbon neutral and win 190 industry awards. Organised around four pillars – Inspiration, In Touch, Integrity and Innovation – it aims to make M&S the world’s most sustainable major retailer. To find out more please visit the Plan A website -

About Good World Solutions

Good World Solutions, the nonprofit social enterprise behind Labor Link, develops innovative technology solutions to serve millions of vulnerable workers, farmers and artisans in global supply chains. The award-winning Labor Link platform aims to give voice to 1 million workers by 2018 and has been recognized by Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Awards, Ashoka Changemakers, GSMA Global Mobile Awards, the Global Social Benefit Institute at Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, and the Gratitude Network. By increasing transparency in global supply chains, Good World Solutions drives systemic change in company buying practices and catalyzes economic empowerment for the people that make popular consumer products.