The drive for companies to differentiate themselves through creative sustainability initiatives is not only good for business but will open up "new marketplaces" over the next ten years, a leading executive from Marks & Spencer (M&S) has told just style.

Mike Barry, head of sustainable business at M&S says the company is aiming to be "well positioned to reap the benefits of those" new opportunities.

The retailer is already something of a pacesetter on sustainability since the launch of its Plan A corporate responsibility platform in 2007.

But Barry also reiterates what so many companies say about sustainability nowadays: that it is good business.

Firstly, there is simple efficiency. "If you can save yourself money by less waste, less energy use, less water use, less packaging, that's good for the environment, it's good for you as a corporation." 

Waste is another area where Barry says M&S has shown demonstrable improvement.

"In the last 12 months, we've driven down packaging use in our clothing business by 15%, so again that's beneficial. We've also driven down carrier bag usage."

Click here to read the full interview with Mike Barry.