Retail Sustainability Investment

M&S Retailer Goes Carbon Neutral

Written by Green Chip Stocks
Posted June 11, 2012

As reported in the Guardian UK, M&S is the first major retailer in the UK to become entirely carbon neutral.

Five years ago, M&S started a sustainability project called “Plan A” with some very ambitious goals including carbon neutrality, tripling sales of organic food and drinks and other targets. While it hasn’t quite reached the latter, the former is now a reality.

Other aspects of the “Plan A” project range from energy saving and carbon emissions to waste management and finding sustainable sources of timber and fish. The company’s loftiest goal is to become the world’s most sustainable retailer, a goal that considering its progress and commitment seems entirely possible.

According to the company, its carbon neutrality was attained by reducing energy usage by using more efficient refrigeration while also counting renewable energy tariffs and offsetting. M&S also recycles 100% of all its waste including being able to send 89% of food waste to anaerobic digestors to create energy. In fact, the only aspect of the “Plan A” project that hasn’t been a success is elevating the consumption of organic produce and food. The sale of organic foods is roughly the same as it was back in 2007 when the project first began.

The head of sustainable business at M&S Mike Barry recently stated, “There are a couple of disappointments but these are challenging economic times and M&S deserves eight out of ten for making some substantive achievements in the first five years of Plan A. This detailed evaluation shows the powerful business case for the initiative. We look forward to working further with our 21 million shoppers to make further progress by 2020.”