Plan A’s Mike Barry is ‘Doing the right thing” – and this time it’s personal


As the man behind the well known Plan A sustainability strategy, Marks & Spencer’s Head of Sustainability, Mike Barry, is no stranger to “doing the right thing” in his professional life.


Now he’s applied that same passion to his personal life by doing a half marathon on behalf of The DoNation, an award-winning social enterprise that replaces cash sponsorship with action to encourage environmental behavior change and carbon savings.


“I’m pretty competitive but with my age and lack of running talent, busting a gut would be the difference between 393rd or 412th – not exciting enough to make me really try. I needed a different kind of motivation and that’s where The DoNation came in”, explained Mike.


“I asked people to sponsor me with pledges to do a little bit more for the planet and the faster I run the more everyone will do”.


It’s a call to arms that has certainly inspired people. Mike has already saved 2121% of his original target. With supporters pledging action ranging from cycling to work to cutting out plastic packaging, Mike will inspire carbon savings of over 21,210 kilograms. That’s the equivalent of flying all the way to Los Angeles and back, 10 times over.


“Mike has completely smashed his target, inspiring so many people to do something new, coming together to show how small actions can add up to make a big difference”, explained The DoNation Founder, Hermione Taylor. “His success is a fantastic example of how making ‘being green and healthy’ a bit more fun and social can be incredibly powerful.”


And it’s not just friends and family who have got behind Mike’s challenge; it seems he’s inspiring fellow sustainability professionals too. Nicky Chambers, CEO of sustainability consultancy Best Foot Forward pledged ‘Passion Fashion’ and will be dressing more sustainably in support. “I spend a lot of time working with large corporates to reduce their footprints but sometimes it’s good to be reminded that we can all do more on a personal level to make a difference.”


Steve Malkin, the CEO of Planet Positive pledged ‘Walk On’ and so will be doing his bit for Mike on foot. “The DoNation is an awesome idea. At Planet Positive we’re passionate about how easy and accessible sustainability can be. Often it just needs that first nudge to get you going”.


Mike succesfully crossed the finish line in 1 hour and 32 minutes: “The whole Donation process has been brilliant, everyone has been effusive about it and it really helped me keep going when training was tough to juggle and today when the last 2 miles were horrible but 129 voices kept shouting keep going you lazy old sod”. 


In the 17 months since it launched, The DoNation has inspired 1,758 people to do over 2,500 actions, saving a total of 255,862 kgs CO2 in support of 222 challenges. Mike’s impressive sponsorship raising has made him one of the most successful ‘Doers’ to date alongside epic explorer Mark Wood’s solo-skiing polar challenge and Imperial College London’s Green Week campaign.

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