M&S carbon neutral but can do more

Marks and SpencerMarks & Spencer is the first major retailer to become carbon neutral, it has claimed, five years after launching its sustainability project Plan A.

All M&S-operated stores, offices, warehouses and delivery fleets in the UK and Ireland had been certified as carbon neutral, and it now recycled 100% of its waste and sent nothing to landfill, the retailer announced.
But it said it had not been able to meet six of the original commitments and another six were "behind plan", reporting a decline of organic food sales in its food halls since 2007 due to reduced customer demand and a failure to convert a planned 20 million clothing garments to Fairtrade cotton because of difficulties with the supply chain.

It had also been unable to convert all fresh turkey, geese, pork and duck to free range while responding to customer demand to stock higher-welfare products.

The Plan A project addresses social and environmental issues such as energy saving and carbon emissions, waste management and sustainable sourcing and Fairtrade and animal welfare.

The retailer's 2012 How We Do Business Report says it has achieved 138 of the 180 targets set out under Plan A, with a further 30 "on plan".

Its carbon neutral status meant it had significantly reduced its carbon emissions and bought carbon offsets to balance out the remaining amount.

M&S chief executive Marc Bolland said: "I am proud of what we've achieved. We now have a better, greener and more ethical Marks & Spencer.

"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."
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