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M&S issued an update on the first six months of its sustainable business plan “Plan A 2020”

  • 63% of M&S products now have a Plan A attribute
  • M&S food delivery team adds 14 nitrogen trailers to its fleet
  • LED lighting to be rolled out to all Food Halls
  • 28 per cent of M&S cotton now grown to BCI standards
  • M&S Café raises £800,000 for Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee morning
  • 7,000 take part in M&S Emerging Leaders training
  • Marks & Start on target for busiest year on its 10th year anniversary
  • Clothes exchange launched in Czech Republic and Hong Kong

LONDON, 2014-12-2 — /EPR Retail News/ — Mike Barry, Director of Plan A at M&S, says: “It’s been an exciting first six months for Plan A 2020. Launched in June, the new 100 commitment sustainable business plan is making an impact on M&S operations across the world and engaging our customers, employees and partners in more sustainable lifestyles and ways of doing business.

“It is helping us stand up and take action on the sustainable retail challenges of today and tomorrow. Our products are becoming more sustainable, we’re testing new technology that could transform our future operations and we’re supporting causes that make a real difference to the future for our customers and the local communities we operate in.

“We’re also ensuring we share best practice and learn from others. Only through collaboration will business create meaningful change and our work with the Consumer Goods Forum is a great example of big companies coming together to make shops and products better for both people and planet.”

63% of M&S products now have a Plan A attribute
63 per cent of M&S products, almost two billion items sold every year, now have a Plan A attribute – an eco or ethical quality above the market norm. The figure puts M&S well ahead of its target to have 50 per cent by 2015 and on track for all M&S products to have an attribute by 2020.

Attributes make it easy for M&S customers to shop more sustainably and further embeds Plan A into every buying department.

Products recently awarded with Plan A attributes include boxes of Belgian chocolates (now made from 100 per cent UTZ certified chocolate), all Food-To-Go pasties (the Cornish factory where the products are made has received accreditation for energy and water efficiency) and all gift bags, gift wrapping and greetings cards (all made from FSC certified or recycled paper).

M&S food delivery team adds 14 nitrogen trailers to its fleet
The M&S food delivery team has added 14 trailers to its fleet that use Liquid Nitrogen to refrigerate the unit, rather than traditional diesel fuel.

The trailers, which operate out of M&S’ distribution centre in Hemel Hempstead and deliver to stores around London, are better for the environment, emitting 62 per cent less CO2 over their lifetime and zero at point of use. There is also a noise pollution benefit with the trailers running virtually silent.

The viability of the trailers to replace the 670 diesel fuelled trailers that the M&S food delivery team runs will be assessed over a number of years. It is estimated over 6,000 tonnes of CO2 (circa one per cent of M&S’ total emissions) could be removed from M&S’ carbon footprint if the vehicles are successful.

LED lighting to be rolled out to all Food Halls
M&S has announced that it will be rolling out LED lighting to every M&S Food Hall over the next two years.

100 M&S Simply Food stores will receive LED lights across the store and a further 300 Food Halls and Simply Food stores will receive LED lighting for their refrigeration units. LED lighting is more energy efficient and longer lasting than more traditional forms of lighting. It also better for customers, directly focusing light on shelves and products to give a better visual experience. As a result there are cost savings – uses less energy and maintenance costs are lower – and commercial benefits.

LED lighting was first trialled at the M&S eco store in Ecclesall Road, Sheffield back in 2011 – one of the first shops in the UK to use the technology. It has since been trialled in 12 other stores, proving the business case for a roll out to all M&S-owned Food Halls and Simply Food stores.

In the trial stores, energy was reduced by around 20 per cent.

LED is a key element of M&S’ strategy to meet the Plan A energy efficiency commitments to reduce energy usage by 35 per cent by 2015 and 50 per cent by 2020 relative to square footage increase (against a 2006/7 baseline).

28 per cent of M&S cotton now grown to BCI standards
Almost a third of the cotton sourced by M&S is now grown to BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) standards. That’s a huge total of around 50 million products sold annually that support M&S’s commitment to source more sustainable cotton, including underwear, school uniform, dresses and bedding.

Better Cotton is kinder to 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.

M&S Café raises £800,000 for Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee morning
This year’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event at M&S Cafes up and down the country raised a staggering £800,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Themed events took place in M&S Cafes on 26th September and throughout September 5p from every coffee sold and 20p from every Victoria Sponge was donated to Macmillan.

Downton Abbey and Mad Hatters tea parties both proved to be popular themes with employees and customers making a huge effort.

It was M&S’ biggest ever fundraising total since it started partnering with Macmillan for World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in 2010 and with the addition of funds from charity Christmas cards and employee fundraising efforts, total fundraising at M&S this year for Macmillan is expected to hit £1.2 million. The money raised helps fund Macmillan nurses and support workers throughout the UK.

7,000 take part in M&S Emerging Leaders training
7,000 workers from M&S suppliers and their local communities in Kenya and South Africa have taken part in the Emerging Leaders Training programme – a scheme designed to inspire people to become ‘leaders’ in their work, personal and community lives.

Post training feedback showed that 98 per cent of participants felt the course had a positive impact on their lives. 80 per cent set up an income generating activity post training and two thirds set up a community project. The results also showed a positive impact on suppliers with productivity going up, quality improving, reduced worker turnover and employee satisfaction improving.

The M&S Emerging Leaders training programme takes place on factories, farms and in local communities with the support of M&S suppliers. The training is intended to give participants the skills to take charge of their own situation, encouraging them to start entrepreneurial projects in the workplace, at home or in their own communities.

Marks & Start on target for busiest year on its 10th year anniversary
So far this year M&S has supported 2,477 people who face barriers to the workplace through its Marks & Start employability programme.

The figure includes 1,192 young unemployed through Make Your Mark (part of the Marks & Start scheme) with the support of The Prince’s Trust, 524 single parents with the support of Gingerbread, 672 people with disabilities with the support of Remploy and 89 homeless with Business in the Community.

It puts Marks & Start on course for its busiest year since launching in 2004. Over the last 10 years, 12,420 disadvantaged people have been supported with an average in to work rate (the number of people that complete the scheme and go on to find full time employment) of 40 per cent.

Participants complete pre-placement training with the relevant charity partners and a four week training placement at a Marks & Spencer store or office. Each person is paired with a buddy and a coach, spending their placement working alongside their buddy who helps to give everyday support and coaching. Anyone that completes the training and is recommended by their coach can take any M&S vacancy in any store within a six month period without having to apply online or be assessed.

Clothes exchange launched in Czech Republic and Hong Kong
The Marks & Spencer Clothes Exchange, known as Shwopping in the UK, has been launched in M&S’ 20 stores in the Czech Republic and 17 stores in Hong Kong.

Customers can now donate used or unwanted items of clothing every time they shop at an M&S store in Hong Kong and the Czech Republic. M&S collects the clothes and distributes them to a local charity for recycling, re-use or re-sale. A successful three month trial earlier this year saw 35,000 garments donated.

In the UK M&S partners with Oxfam to run the scheme. Since launch 10 million garments have been ‘Shwopped’, worth an estimated £6 million to Oxfam. The exchange will be rolled out across more international markets next year.

Plan A 2007 – 2013
Plan A was launched in 2007 as a 100 commitment, five year eco and ethical plan to transform the way M&S operated and sourced its products. Ninety-four of the original commitments were achieved, five were not achieved and one was deleted due to changes in circumstances. In 2010 Plan A was extended and strengthened with 80 new commitments with 2015 and 2020 deadlines added to the original 100. Since launch Plan A has won over 200 awards.

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Further information

Corporate media enquiries
Daniel Himsworth, Marks & Spencer Press Office, 0208 718 1618

Consumer media enquiries
Liz Williams, Marks & Spencer Press Office, 0208 718 6369

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