Marks and Spencer announces new 200 million GBP eco-plan

15 January 2007

Marks & Spencer has announced "Plan A", a business wide 200m GBP "eco-plan" which will have an impact on every part of M&S' operations over the next five years. Climate change is a top priority in the plan, with the company committing to introduce a range of measures to tackle operational emissions, as well as those associated with suppliers and customers.

The 100-point plan means that by 2012 M&S will:

  • become carbon neutral
  • send no waste to landfill
  • extend sustainable sourcing
  • set new standards in ethical trading
  • help customers and employees live a healthier lifestyle.

M&S Chief Executive, Stuart Rose said:

"Every business and individual needs to do their bit to tackle the enormous challenges of climate change and waste. While M&S will continue to sell great quality, stylish and innovative products, our customers, employees and shareholders now expect us to take bold steps and do business differently and responsibly. We believe a responsible business can be a profitable business. We are calling this "Plan A" because there is no 'plan B'."

In the area of climate change the company will be making its operations in the UK and Republic of Ireland carbon neutral. Energy use will be minimised and the use of renewables maximised, with offsets purchased as a last resort.

These actions will be equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road each year and will mean Marks and Spencer meets the challenge set by the Stern Review of reducing CO2 emissions by 80%, nearly 40 years ahead of target. As a significant amount of emissions come from the company's suppliers and customers making and using its products, Marks and Spencer also plans to mobilise them to reduce their carbon footprint. The commitment includes:

  • Reducing the amount of energy used, to make Marks and Spencer's operations 25% more energy efficient and powering stores with 'green' renewable energy. This will include trialling the use of 'anaerobic digestion' - to create renewable energy generated by waste from food halls, farms and factories
  • Committing to buy as much food from the UK and Ireland as possible, double regional food sourcing within 12 months and grow existing local supply networks. In addition, looking to minimise the amount of food air freighted as well as label the food imported by air as 'flown'
  • Initiating 5 new research and development projects with UK growers to develop production techniques and varieties to reduce the amount of food we import
  • Only using carbon offsetting as a last resort, where there is no short to medium term prospect of green technology being developed. Where offsetting is used, the cost of doing so will be allocated to individual business units, as a commercial incentive to minimise CO2 emission
  • Opening a model 'green' factory with a supplier, as well as model 'green' stores in Pollok, Bournemouth and Liverpool and a Simply Food 'green' store at Galashiels
  • Using 50% bio-diesel in all lorries
  • Working with suppliers through the M&S Supplier Exchange to share best practice and to mobilise suppliers to reduce their carbon emissions
  • Helping customers reduce energy use in their homes by developing low carbon products and services and running a Carbon Challenge with the Women's Institute and supporting the Climate Group's public engagement campaign.
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