M&S extends its nationwide food redistribution scheme to include chilled food

London, 2017-May-18 — /EPR Retail News/ — Marks & Spencer (M&S) today (17 May 2017) announces the extension of its nationwide food redistribution scheme to include chilled food such as meat, dairy items, poultry and ready meals, as part of its Plan A target of reducing food waste by 20% by 2020.

Launched in October 2015, the existing scheme has helped M&S to connect all its stores* to local food charities and community groups – from soup kitchens for the homeless to community cafés supporting local families with meals. To date M&S has donated 1.25 million meals to 595 food charities across the UK and Northern Ireland. By adding chilled food to the fruit, vegetables, bread, cakes and groceries and dry packaged goods and tins already donated – M&S will play a key role in helping charities feed people in need of a safe, sufficient and nutritious diet.

M&S works in partnership with Neighbourly, the social network for social good, to connect local charities with their local M&S store. The site has allowed M&S to remove some of the main logistical barriers to redistributing chilled food, including ensuring that all those charities registered have refrigeration to transport and store chilled food, as well as having the correct food hygiene credentials in place.

During the last month, 130 M&S stores have begun redistributing surplus chilled food to their local charities. M&S will review the extension at the end of May with a view to roll out to further stores where the charity partner has the approved infrastructure in place. The chilled launch follows a pilot in 70 M&S stores this Christmas which aimed to find the most effective and safe way of redistributing surplus chilled food to ensure it is put to the best possible use.

Commenting on the new chilled food donations, Louise Nicholls, Head of Responsible Sourcing, Packaging & Plan A at M&S said: “Addressing food waste is a key area of focus for M&S and we have been working hard to reduce food waste whilst ensuring that, where there is food surplus, we put it to the best possible use. Over the last year our partnership with Neighbourly has allowed us to connect our stores to local food projects and help support our local communities. By extending our food surplus scheme to include chilled food we’ll be able to go even further in helping charities support those in need with safe and nutritious food.”

Nick Davies, Founder of Neighbourly, added: “People often under-estimate how determined companies like Marks & Spencer are to help protect the planet and the communities they serve. For 10 years now the Plan A initiative has guided behind-the scenes efforts to tackle climate change, source sustainably and reduce waste whilst never compromising safety or the customer experience. Their request for help with chilled food is just the latest step in an ambitious journey and Neighbourly is delighted to assist – it’s good for society, good for business and good for the soul.”

Dr David Moon, Head of Food Sustainability WRAP, said: “WRAP estimates that approximately 47,000 tonnes of surplus food – the equivalent of 90 million meals – is currently being redistributed to feed people in the UK every year. This is a great move by M&S and opens up a new area of surplus food that can go to feed people, rather than potentially being wasted. No food should go to waste when there are options like redistribution, and Courtauld 2025 signatories have responded with a collective ambition to double the amount of surplus food they redistribute by 2020. This move by M&S is a great example of the kind of action that will help make that ambition a reality.”

Further information on how charities can register is available on the M&S page of the Neighbourly website.

Case study – M&S Yeovil   

Through the food surplus redistribution scheme, M&S Yeovil has donated nearly 18,500 meals to Yeovil Community Meals Service which delivers freshly cooked, ready to eat meals for older people in the community, those with mobility problems, dementia or those who are recently home from hospital. Last month, M&S Yeovil added chilled food to the scheme which has seen a 25% rise in the number of meals donated.

About M&S’s approach to food waste:

  • Our primary aim is to reduce the amount of waste we create in the first place
  • We have invested in new stock forecasting and planning systems to improve the accuracy of our food allocation and distribution at our stores;
  • We believe we have the most comprehensive supplier engagement schemes and we are very active in working with our suppliers to ensure they are engaged in:
    • Reducing waste – over 70% are now zero waste to landfill; and
    • Redistributing more – as well as increasing redistribution from our stores, we are working closely with our suppliers to help them redistribute more direct from their depots.
    • We have also increased the volume of short life food products that we sell at a discount to our customers and this process now consistently clears the majority of products that would otherwise have been disposed of.
    • M&S was given advice from Westminster City Council, its primary authority, that it is satisfied with the safety procedures M&S has place for the chilled food donations.
    • Where there is food surplus, we will work with charity partners through the Neighbourly platform to ensure that it is put to the best possible use.
    • Charities that can make use of surplus food items and make regular collections from the back of their local store will need to join neighbourly.com and create a profile for their project. To find out more, send an email to food@neighbourly.com or telephone 0117 917 5317.
    • The Neighbourly platform will enable better connections between customers, communities, suppliers and our own employees.
    • We are also committed to helping our customers reduce their food waste by developing packaging innovations that protect food and keep it fresher for longer.
    • Any surplus left over goes to anaerobic digestion (a process that turns food waste into electricity – some of which is bought back to power M&S stores) – absolutely nothing goes to landfill.
    • For further information, please see the M&S Plan A website

About Plan A 

Plan A is Marks & Spencer’s sustainable business plan that tackles both today’s and tomorrow’s sustainable retail challenges. Launched in 2007, the plan is focused on customer, employee and supplier engagement and includes commitments that tackle issues such as climate change, waste, raw materials, health and being a fair partner.

About Neighbourly 

Neighbourly is an award-winning social platform that matches charities and community projects with people and companies that can help. It uses technology to connect and enable communities, individuals and organisations to help local causes through volunteering, financial and food donations. M&S has partnered with Neighbourly to deliver Spark Something Good, its major Plan A employee and customer volunteering initiative. Visit www.neighbourly.com/ or follow @nbrly

Media enquiries:
M&S Corporate PR
020 8718 1919

Source: Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer joined forces with Joanna Lumley to launch new initiative Spark Something Good

LONDON, 2015-8-3— /EPR Retail News/ — Marks & Spencer (M&S) has today joined forces with Joanna Lumley to launch Spark Something Good. The new initiative aims to inspire and motivate employees and customers around the country to grab a shovel, pick up a paintbrush and take action for social good – donating time to their local communities to improve lives up and down the country.

Today in London, M&S, its customers and employees, along with members of local communities, will be completing 24 community projects around the capital in 24 hours. Led by Joanna and CEO Marc Bolland, the company aims to spark its 34 million customers into action by showing just what can be achieved in just one day when people come together united by a common goal.

Projects set to be completed within 24 hours include the transformation of an unused central London rooftop into a colourful children’s play area, renovating a community farmyard, providing a new dining room for a busy soup kitchen and the planting of an edible garden. Projects include St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington and Brixton Soup Kitchen.

The launch will kick off projects in a further 24 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland over the next 24 months.

A newly created Spark Something Good website –www.marksandspencer.com/getinvolved – has been developed in partnership with the social network for social good, Neighbourly.com. The site shows the local fundraising and volunteering opportunities that every one of M&S’ owned stores are involved in. Every store has chosen a local charity of the year to fundraise for and support, meaning customers who can’t volunteer time or skills have the opportunity to make a difference in the community through donations in store.

The site incorporates project information from the Neighbourly.com social network which acts as a matchmaking service between local projects and people who want to help. M&S is a founding partner of Neighbourly.com.

Connecting with this wider network enables M&S customers and employees to get involved with their local community, from spending time with the elderly, to renovating community facilities, it will enable them to take part in positive action in their own backyard. Through the digital platform people will also be empowered to promote their own community projects and in doing so find new sources of funding and collaboration partners to make a difference in the communities they live and work in.

M&S developed Spark Something Good following extensive research and dialogue which revealed that getting involved in community projects enhanced people’s lives.

Joanna Lumley, M&S Spark Something Good ambassador, comments: “This isn’t just about today or even tomorrow. It’s about the cumulative effect of people giving back to their community over time. We want to make people happy and spark a relay of good deeds across the nation and we need your help now! The potential is simply enormous.

“People tell us they’d like to support local charities and they want to give hands-on help and see lives being changed. Donating time is just as valuable as giving money and is often more rewarding.”

Marc Bolland, Marks & Spencer CEO, said: “M&S people and customers have always helped in their local community, by working together we know we can achieve even more by volunteering or making a donation to a charity that matters locally. We know the positive impact it can have and that a healthy high street needs a healthy community to support it. That’s why we’re making it easy to get involved and asking our people and customers to Spark Something Good.”

Nick Davies, Founder of Neighbourly adds: “Finding community projects and matching them to people willing to help has always been difficult. We have worked with Marks & Spencer to bring the latest digital technology to empower the public to get involved with community projects on their own doorsteps. Anyone can take part and importantly it’s about people with energy, good ideas and vision. You don’t need to be a formal charity to get your idea off the ground. You just need a bright idea for social good. With the help of M&S and Spark Something Good, we can then direct local energy and enthusiasm to exactly where it is needed.”

Whatever an individual’s passion – from photography to DIY and gardening to cookery – there will be something for everyone on the Neighbourly network so that people can ensure their skills are put to use in their communities.

Spark Something Good is part of Plan A, M&S’s ground-breaking eco and ethical programme. M&S has a long history of giving something back to the community. In the past seven years M&S has raised more than £50 million for charity partners, raised £15 million for Oxfam through its Shwopping initiative and encouraged its employees to volunteer by allowing an annual, paid volunteer day.

– Ends –

Further information

UNITY PR, 0207 440 9810

hazel@hellounity.com, mariana@hellounity.com or alice@hellounity.com

About Plan A
Plan A is Marks & Spencer’s sustainable business plan that tackles both today’s and tomorrow’s sustainable retail challenges. Launched in 2007, the plan is focused on customer, employee and supplier engagement and includes commitments that tackle issues such as climate change, waste, raw materials, health and being a fair partner.

About Neighbourly
Neighbourly.com is the internet platform that connects local projects with people and organisations who want to help. They do this by breaking down traditional barriers to finding and giving help – neighbourly is a friendly network of companies, individuals, charities, councils, institutions and community groups.