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09 June 2011

M&S Reports on Plan A Progress in 2010/11

Marks & Spencer (M&S) today publishes its annual ‘How We Do Business Report' detailing progress on its 180 commitment eco and ethical programme, Plan A.

As M&S moves towards becoming the world's most sustainable major retailer by 2015 highlights on progress include:


  • 95 commitments achieved, 77 on plan, seven behind and one on-hold;
  • Two million customers directly involved in Plan A activities;
  • Net benefit of over £70 million delivered in 10/11 (up from £50m in 09/10);
  • Nine sustainability leaders recruited for new Plan A Advisory Board.


Marc Bolland, Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer, says: “Plan A is now delivering more for our customers than ever before. It is creating great products with eco and ethical benefits like the world's first Fairtrade vegetable and the Indigo Green fashion range. Over 180,000 people recycled their unwanted clothes with the Oxfam Clothes Exchange.”

Customer involvement

Last year over two million customers were directly involved in Plan A activities and millions more joined in by buying Fairtrade, Organic or Free Range food and products made from more sustainable materials such as FSC-certified wood, Fairtrade cotton and recycled polyester.

Over a million customers bought products that resulted in a direct donation to charity – including Breakthrough Breast Cancer's Fashion Target T-shirts, Macmillan Cancer Support pin-badges and Shelter Christmas Sandwiches. Thousands joined in the M&S sponsored Big Butterfly Count, World's Biggest Coffee Morning (in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support) and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research's Botham Walk.

180,000 took part in the Oxfam Clothes Exchange – which included autumn and spring One Day Wardrobe Clear-out events where customers returned their unwanted clothes to M&S stores across the country in exchange for a money-off voucher.

M&S Energy greened the homes of 4,500 customers with home insulation and solar panels.

8,000 recycled their unwanted electrical products such as mobile phones and iPods in return for M&S vouchers through the M&S Gadget Recycling service.

Net benefit of over £70 million

A net benefit of over £70 million was delivered as a result of Plan A activities last year, compared to £50 million in 2009/10.

Savings on initiatives such as being more energy efficient in stores and distribution centres (£13.5m saving last year), using less fuel (£2m), hanger recycling and reuse (£1m), and packaging reductions (£11m) more than outweighed any investments M&S made in Plan A projects. The surplus monies have been re-invested into the business.

New Plan A Advisory Board

The How We Do Business report includes details of the recently established Plan A Advisory Board which will help M&S meet its target of becoming the world's most sustainable major retailer by 2015.

It includes some of the most prominent independent sustainability experts from academia, industry and leading NGOs and is co-chaired by Marc Bolland and Plan A advisor Jonathon Porritt (Founder Director of Forum for the Future).

It met for the first time in March and will meet twice a year over the next four years.

Other members are:

  • David Nussbaum, CEO, WWF UK;
  • David McCullough, Trading Director; Oxfam GB;
  • Martha Lane Fox, Non-Executive Director, M&S;
  • Aron Cramer, President and CEO, Business for Social Responsibility;
  • Danny Truell, CIO, Wellcome Trust;
  • Ritu Kumar, CEO, TERI-Europe;
  • Rebecca Henderson, Prof of Environment Management, Harvard Business School;
  • Peggy Liu, Chair of Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy;
  • Gavin Neath, SVP Communications and Sustainability, Unilever.

Other report highlights

  • Last year M&S collected three million unwanted garments through the Oxfam Clothes Exchange, raising around £3.3 million for Oxfam;
  • Last year over £10 million was invested by the Plan A Innovation Fund into projects that support early stage R&D into green products and services;
  • Reduced carbon emissions by 13% (25% on like-for-like basis) since 2007;
  • Fuel efficiency on delivery fleets has improved by 20% (clothing, home and gifts) and 22% (food) since 2007;
  • 28 stores now use more environmentally friendly CO2 refrigeration systems and 355 stores now use a R407a refrigeration gas which has 50% less impact than conventional systems;
  • The sourcing of renewable energy from small-scale hydro, wind and anaerobic digestion generators increased to over 50 gWhs, equivalent to 5% of M&S' total electricity usage;
  • Last year operational waste was reduced by over a third compared to 08/09 figures and 94% of the remaining waste was recycled, including all unsold food;
  • 39% of food waste went to Anaerobic Digestion to generate energy;
  • 10 million Christmas Cards (up from eight million last year) were collected in stores for recycling in association with the Woodland Trust;
  • Hit 2012 target to reduce packaging by over 25% a year early (excluding glass);
  • 90% of the wild fish we sell now meets our sustainability standards;
  • Launched 35 products made with certified sustainable palm oil and purchased Green Palm certificates to cover entire palm oil usage across M&S products in food and beauty;
  • Banned a further 20 pesticides including paraquat;
  • Increased the amount of recycled polyester used to 1,900 tonnes (equivalent to 47 million two-litre plastic bottles);
  • Introduced calorie labelling in all store cafes.


Anyone that wishes to view the report in full can download it at

- Ends -


Further information

Daniel Himsworth, Marks & Spencer Press Office

0208 718 1618 /


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