'Plan A' right thing can be good for business, M&S
Marks & Spencer (M&S) reports on the half-year progress of Plan A, M&S' eco and ethical programme to become the world's most sustainable major retailer by 2015.
70 of the 180 commitments (extended from 100 in March) have now been achieved with a further 20 on course to be completed by April 2011.
Highlights over the past six months include:
• M&S stores, offices and distribution centres in the UK are now recycling 92 per cent of their operational waste, up from the 53 per cent reported in June and 41 per cent in 2008/09. Solutions are now being trialled to recycle the remaining eight per cent of waste so that M&S can achieve its commitment to send zero waste to landfill by 2012.
• Environmental charity Groundwork UK has announced 20 new M&S-sponsored Greener Living Spaces for 2011, funded by the profit from the 5p food carrier bag charge. These include community allotments in Northern Ireland, a community orchard project in West Yorkshire and a wildlife garden in North Wales. Since launch £3.6 million has been donated, funding 79 Greener Living Spaces.
• 35,000 free Energy Monitors were distributed to employees in October, helping colleagues reduce energy use and cut household costs.
• 25 M&S stores are now using environmentally friendly CO2 refrigeration systems and a further 175 stores have been converted to refrigeration systems which use a cleaner HFC (R407a) gas that instantly halves harmful emissions should they escape.
• M&S Scottish Haddock received MSC certification in November and last month M&S announced that in January it will launch in stores its biggest ever health-related food and drink range.
Marc Bolland, Chief Executive, said: “Plan A is an integral part of our business and at the heart of the M&S brand. It gives us something uniquely different – something that's 'Only at M&S'. We've achieved a great deal and we now want to make sure that more of our 21 million customers get involved in Plan A, making it easier for them to live more sustainable lifestyles.”
Sir Stuart Rose, Chairman, said: “Plan A has come a very long way, but the challenges we face in moving towards becoming a sustainable business remain enormous. By making Plan A profitable, we've proved that doing the right thing can be good for business as well as being good for the environment, suppliers, employees and customers. Because of this, sustainability has to be right at the top of the corporate agenda.”
Highlights from each of the Plan A areas
Involving our customers in Plan A
In September M&S collected £1million worth of clothing for Oxfam, through its first ever 'One Day Wardrobe Clearout'. Customers donated over 350,000 items of unwanted clothing, helping raise money for Oxfam and reducing the amount of clothing sent to landfill.
Around 150,000 additional customers visited M&S stores to support the event. For one day only the successful M&S and Oxfam Clothes Exchange was reversed and customers were encouraged to bring unused and unwanted clothing to M&S stores. Anyone donating M&S labelled clothing received a £5 money-off voucher to spend in-store.