M&S confirm they are the first carbon neutral major retailer

Posted on 7 June 2012

Marks & Spencer today published its 2012 How We Do Business Report, which reports on the first five years of progress of its 180 commitment eco and ethical programme, Plan A.

The report confirms …

  • M&S is the first major retailer to become carbon neutral
  • 138 commitments have been achieved and a further 30 are ‘on plan’
  • M&S have maintained their commitment to procure 100% ‘green’ electricity by 2012, and increased the amount directly bought from farmers

One of the latest suppliers to come online to supply M&S with ‘green’ electricity is the Eyston family at Mapledurham Estate on the banks of the Thames in Oxfordshire, who have installed an Archimedes screw to harness the enormous power in the river. Full story

The report also shows how M&S now uses fewer carrier bags (1.7 billion bags saved in five years) and less packaging (26% less by weight) and has made its sourcing operations and products more sustainable. Over ½ million hours of training and education, including health care and employment rights, have been completed in the supply chain, all of the wild fish sold at M&S is from the most sustainable sources available and 257 M&S products are now made using certified sustainable palm oil.

31% of products now have a Plan A attribute, driving more sustainable consumption amongst M&S customers. This adds up to almost a billion individual items sold every year at a retail value of £3 billion. The target is to raise this to 50% by 2015 and 100% by 2020.

Over five million customers have taken part in Plan A activities, including customers who have shwopped – donated an unwanted item of clothing when buying a new one, to be re-used, re-sold or recycled by Oxfam – and customers that took part in last month’s Big Beach clean-up.

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive, Marks & Spencer said: “I am proud of what we’ve achieved. We now have a better, greener and more ethical Marks & Spencer. Moving forward we will continue to engage customers in sustainable consumption, as we have with our Shwopping initiative, the first cradle to cradle clothes retailing business model. We remain as committed to Plan A as we have ever been. It is an essential part of our DNA and fundamental to our plans to become an international, multi-channel retailer.”

Photo taken at the Mapledurham Estate on Thames, from which M&S directly procures ‘green’ electricity.