Marks & Spencer Declares Carbon Neutrality
June 14, 2012
Marks & Spencer’s (M&S) 2012 sustainability report confirms that the retailer is now carbon neutral, the first major retailer to achieve the distinction, the company reported.
All M&S operated stores, offices, warehouses and delivery fleets in the U.K. and Ireland have been certified as being carbon neutral, meaning that M&S has significantly reduced its carbon emissions and purchased high quality carbon offsets to balance out the remaining emissions, the company reported.
M&S greenhouse gas emissions are down by 22 percent or 158,000 tons of CO2e since 2007, despite the 18 percent increase in the company’s sales space over the same period. The CO2 reduction was achieved by cutting electricity use, reducing gas leaks from refrigeration units and improved fuel efficiency.
To buy offsets, M&S has worked with the Carbon Neutral Company to purchase Verified Carbon Standard offsets. For example, M&S has purchased offsets from a project that distributes efficient cook stoves in South Africa. These not only help combat climate change; they also save lives by reducing smoke pollution and conserve forests by cutting firewood demand, the retailer said. Other M&S offsets come from forestry projects in Malaysia and Kenya, wind power projects in Turkey and India, and biomass energy projects in China and Sri Lanka.
Other achievements in the 2012 report include that M&S now recycles 100 percent of its waste with none trash diverted to landfills, and 31 percent of M&S products now have a Plan A attribute such as free range, made at an eco factory or made from recycled material. Plan A is the name of the M&S strategic sustainability plan.
The report also outlines how five million customers have taken part in Plan A activities and how M&S now uses fewer carrier bags (1.7 billion bags saved in five years) and less packaging (26 percent less by weight).
“I am proud of what we've achieved. We now have a better, greener and more ethical Marks & Spencer,” said Marc Bolland, CEO. “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.”
Of the 180 commitments made in Plan A, 138 have been achieved, 30 are “on plan,” six are “behind plan” and six have not been achieved, the company reported.
Plan A has received more than 100 sustainability awards, including Responsible Retailer of the Year at last year's Oracle World Retail Awards and the Queen's Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development.
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