M&S: Making a household name for themselves with sustainability

With large numbers of consumers doing their bit for the environment, large retailers increasingly need to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability-conscious practices.

Marks & Spencer, one of the UK’s major retailers, recently published a report on “Plan A”, its corporate sustainability plan, stating that the company has slashed its carbon emissions by 23% and cut the amount of waste it produces by 28%.

The carbon emission reduction has largely resulted from more efficient refrigeration systems and improved maintenance, but the company has also purchased carbon offsets to ensure carbon neutrality.

Marks & Spencer’s water waste has decreased by 27% and food waste has also been cut by 32% from the 2008-9 figure, partly because short-life foods have been sold at a discount. Most of the company’s food waste went to anaerobic digestion.

Marc Bolland, the CEO of Marks & Spencer, said:

“We can be very proud of what M&S has achieved through Plan A over the past six years. It has made our business more sustainable and more engaging for our customers and employees.

“But we must continue to adapt and step up to the challenge of the world’s climatic and demographic changes. Growing global consumption will continue to put pressure on finite resources, extreme weather is becoming a reality and social pressures, such as youth unemployment, are becoming more acute.

“We have moved closer to our vision of M&S as a sustainable international multi-channel retailer, but we know that we still have a long way to go to make this a reality. Through Plan A we will continue to push the business case for social and environmental responsibility, develop new alliances and learn from others.”

Recycling Lives welcomes this news from M&S – a company that, with 45 per cent of its products having an eco-friendly or ethical quality, is clearly trying to do its best to promote Corporate Social Responsibility. We wish the retailer continued success with Plan A, because it is clearly addressing sustainability across all the company’s operations.

Our social business is also dedicated to minimising waste, cutting carbon emissions, and adding social value to the local community – and with our Corporate Social Responsibility agenda, this drive is enshrined in our company policies and procedures.

We also run a social welfare charity that helps homeless people to find accommodation and work opportunities. With the charity’s six-stage process, Residents work towards independence through undertaking training and work placements, as well as developing their daily living skills. They also learn how to budget, and cook healthy meals.

All this is made possible because of our commitment to the environment and sustainability in everything we do. If you are a business looking to increase your own Corporate Social Responsibility, you can make an excellent start by choosing Recycling Lives for all your waste management needs!