Trade Resources Industry Views M&S Shows Progress Against The Programme's 180 Sustainability Commitments

M&S Shows Progress Against The Programme's 180 Sustainability Commitments

Marks & Spencer (M&S) today publishes its latest Plan A Report which shows progress against the programme’s 180 sustainability commitments, including its stretching 2015 targets.
139 of the 180 commitments have been achieved with a further 31 ‘on plan’ to be achieved. The original, iconic Plan A commitments – being carbon neutraland sending no waste to landfill– have been maintained and improved as part of a business as usual approach with further reductions in carbon emissions (down by 23 percent) and waste (down by 28 percent). 
Last year Plan A delivered £135 million in net benefits to re-invest in the M&S business. 1,100 people from disadvantaged parts of the community were helped through business work experience placements in M&S stores. Over half went on to find full time employment.
Marc Bolland, CEO of M&S said: “We can be very proud of what M&S has achieved through Plan A over the past six years. It has made our business more sustainable and more engaging for our customers and employees. But we must continue to adapt and step up to the challenge of the world’s climatic and demographic changes. Growing global consumption will continue to put pressure on finite resources, extreme weather is becoming a reality and social pressures, such as youth unemployment, are becoming more acute.
“We have moved closer to our vision of M&S as a sustainable international multi-channel retailer, but we know that we still have a long way to go to make this a reality. Through Plan A we will continue to push the business case for social and environmental responsibility, develop new alliances and learn from others.”
The future of Plan A will be high on the agenda at next week’s Plan A Conference. 1,200 delegates, including key M&S suppliers, are expected at Wembley Stadium’s Conference Centre where Marc Bolland will share a stage with former US Vice President and environmental campaigner Al Gorein what will be one the UK’s biggest ever sustainability conferences. Topics under discussion will include circular economy business models, tackling social issues such as youth unemployment, supply chain transparency and how to bring the latest eco innovations into large scale business operations.
Plan A progress against stretching 2015 targets
Target – 50 per cent of M&S products to have Plan A quality
45 per cent of M&S products now have a Plan A quality – that’s over a billion products sold in the last 12 months with an eco or ethical quality such as being Fairtrade, carbon neutral, made from sustainable materials or delivering health benefits to the consumer. 

Target – provide training and education for 500,000 workers in supply chain
To date M&S programmes have trained 244,000 workers in the M&S supply chain, principally in India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh and China. The training includes health education (for example nutritional and family planning education in Cambodia), financial literacy (for example helping workers in India open bank accounts) and employee rights and employment contract training.
Target – source 25 per cent of cotton from sustainable sources
11 per cent of the cotton used to make M&S products, up from 3.8 per cent last year, is now either Fairtrade, Organic, recycled or grown to Better Cotton Initiative standards.
Target – help a million customers to develop personal sustainability goals online
Last year 470,000 M&S customers engaged with Plan A online in activities designed to help them live more sustainable lifestyles. Examples include people signing up online to help the Marine Conservation Society clean beaches and customers using the Shwopping app, a facebook application that ‘socialises’ M&S’ clothes recycling scheme.
Target – reduce store refrigeration gas carbon emissions by 50 per cent
Refrigeration CO2e emissions were down by 60 percent in 12/13 when compared to the 2007 baseline. This has been achieved by improving maintenance, introducing cleaner R407a HFC gases and only fitting modern CO2 refrigeration systems in new stores.
Other Plan A Report highlights
Shwopping, M&S’ clothes recycling campaign, helped M&S customers recycle 3.8 million used or unwanted items of clothing through Oxfam last year. Customers also returned to M&S for recycling 199 tonnes of used Christmas cards, 2,800 mattresses, 4,700 items of upholstered furniture and 161 million clothes hangers.
Over £8 million was raised for good causes last year by M&S customers and employees, including £1.5 million for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, £2.3 million forOxfamand £690,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support. 
Water use at M&S is down by 27 per cent. This has been achieved by installing water saving technology in hundreds of stores, such as sensor taps and waterless urinals.
Fairtrade food and drink sales have more than doubled since the launch of Plan A in 2007. New lines included M&S Six Hats wines, produced by the Citrusdal Cellar in South Africa, a cooperative made up of local farmers who ensure growers are paid a fair price for their grapes.

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Marks & Spencer Plan a Shows Strong Progress