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Marks & Spencer eco-Plan A continues to progress

Marks & Spencer has presented its half-yearly update on its five year eco-plan, Plan A, with “significant progress” reported in all of the plan’s five areas.

The plan targets eco-improvements in the areas of climate change, waste, sustainable raw materials, fair partner and health.

Highlights of the last six months include:

  • Climate Change – M&S Energy, launched in October 2008, now has over 175,000 customers who are being rewarded for reducing energy use;
  • Waste – food waste is now being returned for processing into energy at three of M&S’ seven food depots with the remaining four going ‘live’ early in 2010;
  • Sustainable Raw Materials – last week M&S became the world’s first retailer to purchase green palm certificates to cover its entire palm oil usage;
  •  Fair Partner – M&S store and head office staff raised £2.5 million for hundreds of local charities across the country in only 125 days (May to September) as part of M&S’ 125 fundraising challenge;
  • Health – all confectionery has been removed from 50 per cent of belted till points in M&S stores with a commitment to remove sweets from all belted till points by 2012.

Of the original 100 commitments made when Plan A was launched in January 2007, 39 have already been completed, 24 of which have been extended to cover even tougher targets.

Some 53 commitments are on or ahead of plan and seven are behind.

M&S executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose said: “Despite unprecedented global economic uncertainty, the business case for Plan A continues to strengthen.

“The plan is now cash positive with savings more than offsetting investments and, as well as delivering significant benefits for our business, stakeholders and the environment, Plan A is changing consumer behaviour.”