Phil Townsend, Raw Materials Specialist for UK headquartered retailer, Marks & Spencer (M&S) will present a brief overview of all its core raw material initiatives that aim to address all their respective environmental, social, economic and animal welfare challenges.

Townsend will also cover the company’s specific sustainable leather initiatives and will finish with an outline of its work with ZDHC and how it is advancing its chemical compliance program. The presentation is titled: “M&S – our journey towards sourcing more sustainable raw materials.”


Phil Townsend – Raw materials specialist – M&S

Phil is responsible for delivering the environmental sustainability program for M&S’ Clothing & Home business. Working with the central Plan A team, buying teams, sourcing offices and suppliers, he leads the development and implementation of the key raw material strategies used within M&S. He also works on other projects to develop sustainable supply chains from farm to store – including traceability, animal welfare, chemical compliance and leading the eco-factory programme.

Phil has spent over 20 years at M&S. Prior to his current role he worked as a Product Technologist, where he was responsible for product development, supply chain management, innovation and quality management.
He has been Vice-Chairman on the BCI Council for the last two years and has just been elected onto the ZDHC Board of Directors.
He is passionate about nature conservation and has worked as a volunteer for the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust for over ten years, managing one of their chalk grassland reserves in the Chilterns, UK.

About the conference

Co-organised by ILM and Eurofins|BLC, the Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference 2018 is predicted to be a popular event with attendees from across the leather industry. A key theme of the conference will include ‘sustainable raw materials’, and the event will touch on topics such as; innovation around raw materials for leather. This year’s conference will also be considering new materials coming to market and look at transparency and traceability of production within existing processes. Stahl are the lead sponsors of the event and other confirmed speakers including Hotter, Stahl, ZDHC and Modern Meadow. The half-day event will take place at One Great George Street, Westminster, London and remaining delegate places are limited.

Delegates will include brands, retailers and leather manufacturers from around the world, and they will have the opportunity to ask questions at the event.

For further information about the conference click here and to register to attend please click here. Alternatively, contact or call +44 (0)1604 679 999. 

For sponsorship opportunities please contact Maria Wallace at or telephone +44 (0)203 735 6537.