Marks & Spencer (M&S) gives an update on Plan A, its 180 commitment eco and ethical programme that aims to make M&S the world's most sustainable major retailer by 2015.
Richard Gillies, Director of Plan A at M&S, says: "We continue to engage our customers in more sustainable living and passionately believe they are the central force for driving change. 35% of the products we sell - including some of our most popular food and clothing - now have an eco or ethical attribute. That's over a billion items sold a year.
“And we're driving change in consumer behaviour with campaigns like Shwopping, our clothes recycling initiative. Over two million items of clothing have been shwopped already, that's 865 tonnes of clothes that may otherwise have gone to landfill being re-sold, re-used or recycled by Oxfam."
35% of M&S products sold - over a billion items a year - now have a Plan A attribute
Over 35% of M&S products, over a billion items sold every year, now have a Plan A attribute - an eco or ethical quality above the market norm.
The products include some of the most desirable and popular M&S lines such as the M&S Woman Brazilian Knickers (made in an eco factory), British Rib-Eye Steak (significantly reduced packaging), M&S Woman Denim Jeggings (made with BCI cotton and dyed in an eco dyehouse) and Simply M&S milk (made healthier by a reduction in saturated fat and, as part of M&S' Milk Pledge, a fair price has been paid to the farmer).
The commitment is driving more sustainable consumption amongst M&S customers and embedding Plan A in every buying department. The target is to achieve 50 per cent of products by 2015 and 100 per cent by 2020.
Shwopping passes the two million mark
M&S customers have shwopped an amazing 2.2 million used and unwanted pieces of clothing in M&S and Oxfam stores since the scheme launched in April.
Shwopping is M&S' revolutionary clothes recycling initiative. Customers can donate any item of clothing, of any brand, to be re-used, resold or recycled by Oxfam. The latest figures mean that over 865 tonnes of clothing has been diverted from landfill and around £1.5 million has been raised to support Oxfam's vital work across the world.
BCI cotton now in 900 M&S products
Cotton sourced to Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) standards is now being used to make 900 M&S products, including some of M&S' best selling lingerie and jeans. From June next year, all pure cotton and cotton rich school uniforms will use BCI cotton.
In total M&S has purchased 4,000 tonnes of BCI cotton in the past six months and intends to grow this to over 15,000 tonnes in the next three years. BCI cotton is better for the environment as it is grown using less fertiliser, less water and fewer chemicals and earns more money for the farmer by reducing input costs and helping them manage crops better.