Marks & Spencer (M&S) will unveil a new property lease policy at next week's Ecobuild 2013 (5th – 7th March).
All new M&S stores will now have ‘green' clauses as standard enabling landlords and tenants to better manage a building's environmental performance.
In addition, M&S has reached agreement with members of the Better Buildings Partnership (collaboration of major retail landlords looking to improve the sustainability of existing commercial building stock) to ‘retro fit' green clauses to the leases of existing M&S stores.
The collaboration is the first of its kind on this scale in the UK and will see the signing of 70 retro fit agreements across sites including Meadowhall (Sheffield), Brent Cross (London) and Silverburn (Glasgow).
The green clauses, whether in new leases or retrofit agreements, will facilitate the sharing of waste information and data such as gas, electricity and water usage in M&S occupied buildings to encourage both landlord (typically a shopping centre or retail park) and tenant (M&S) to make significant carbon reductions.
It also encourages a joint approach to investment in eco building technology such as biomass boilers, LED lighting and rainwater harvesting to further reduce building impacts and costs.
The move is part of a Plan A, M&S' eco and ethical programme, commitment to reduce energy use in M&S stores, offices and warehouses by 35 per cent by 2015 (against a 2007 baseline). M&S has already achieved a 28 per cent reduction but recognises that more needs to be done, in particular in shared areas of shopping centres and retail parks.
Clem Constantine, Director of Property at M&S, said: “Unfortunately, big carbon reductions from the UK's building stock cannot come only from new stores. Seventy per cent of current commercial buildings will still exist in 2050, so if we are genuinely going to tackle the problem we have to invest in eco solutions for existing buildings.
“Currently it can be difficult for landlords and tenants to work together when it comes to a building's environmental performance, particularly for older leases. There's often no real structure for measurement, incentives or sharing of goals.
"Green leasing changes this situation as it provides the framework within which both can work together. And both will benefit, a store with a reduced environmental impact and lower costs is more marketable for landlords and more cost effective for tenants to occupy – a genuine win, win.”
Keith Bugden, Executive Director of the Better Buildings Partnership said: “The BBP has been developing ways to break down landlord/tenant barriers since its inception five years ago. Our industry leading work on green leases, including the publication of our Green Lease Toolkit, has paved the way for this exciting new initiative and I'm delighted that the hard work and commitment of our members has resulted in such a significant breakthrough.
"We hope of course that this is just the start and that other commercial tenants will see the benefits to be gained from such a partnership.”