Marks and Spencer today announced that it has become the UK’s first major carbon neutral retailer.
Reporting on progress of its environmental and ethical programme Plan A, the retailer says all of its stores, offices, warehouses and delivery fleets in the UK and Northern Ireland are now certified carbon neutral.
Greenhouse gas emissions are down 22% - or 158,000 tonnes CO2e - since 2007 despite sales growth of 18% over the same period.
M&S puts the decrease down to lower electricity use, reduced gas leaks from refrigeration units and better fuel efficiency.
To supplement the cuts, the retailer also worked with the Carbon Neutral Company to buy ‘gold standard’ carbon offsets.
M&S now also recycles all of its waste, with nothing going to landfill, has reduced packaging and has saved 1.7 billion plastic carrier bags in five years.
“I am proud of what we've achieved,” says chief executive Marc Bolland. “We now have a better, greener and more ethical Marks & Spencer.”
He added that the company is still as committed to Plan A, even though it has achieved 138 of the 180 commitments.
Only six commitments are behind schedule and a further six have not been achieved, including an initial pledge to use biodiesel, which M&S dropped over concerns about the sustainability of the crops used to produce the fuel.
The retailer also missed its target to cut water usage 20% by 2012, achieving only an 18% reduction. But the company says it will now aim to make a 25% reduction by 2015.
Going forward, Boland says M&S will continue to encourage customers towards sustainable consumption.
For further information:
UK retailers shutting their doors on energy savings (4-May)
UK retailer Marks and Spencer hails success on Plan A (13-Jun 2011)
07 June 2012