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06 December 2012

OFFICE SHWOPPING - M&S INTRODUCES 'SHWOP AT WORK' SERVICE

Free clothes recycling service for offices and workplaces

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is extending its Shwopping campaign into the UK's workplaces by launching a dedicated service for businesses up and down the country.

From next year, companies can make recycling clothes easy for their employees by placing Shwop Drops - clothes recycling boxes - in their offices for a one day eco drive.

M&S will deliver the Shwop Drops and provide marketing materials such as banners and notices. Oxfam, M&S' Shwopping partner, will collect the clothing and re-sell, re-use or recycle it, raising crucial funds for its worldwide poverty alleviation work.

Every employee who recycles will receive an M&S money off voucher*.

Oxfam will also accept old uniforms, corporate workwear and any other textiles. Nothing will go to landfill.

The free service is open to any interested business and M&S is working in partnership with Business In The Community (BITC) to actively promote it to its 850 member companies and the 3,800 members of BITC's May Day Network.

BITC's 850 member companies have 17.8 million employees, meaning that if every one of them shwopped six items of clothing, over 100 million garments would be recycled with Oxfam.

Three BITC member companies have already signed up and will be 'Shwopping at Work' in the new year - B&Q in Southampton, IBM in London and Thames Water in Reading.

Shwopping is M&S' revolutionary clothes recycling initiative launched in April this year which has already seen over two million items of used or unwanted pieces of clothing donated in M&S and Oxfam stores across the UK. Through Shwopping M&S is asking the public to give an old, unwanted item of clothing back every time they buy something new. Each item donated is re-sold, re-used or recycled by Oxfam. The campaign aims to put an end to the one billion items currently ending up in landfill every year.

Adam Elman, Head of Plan A Delivery at Marks & Spencer, said: "We're passionate about giving used clothes a future. One man's old shirt is another's retro classic and we can even transform tatty clothing into new products, such as mattress or car seat fillings. There's no excuse for sending textiles to landfill and that's why we're doing everything we can to make it easy for people to recycle with Oxfam.

"We've spoken at length with our customers - on Facebook, in focus groups and day-to-day in stores - and they want us to make shwopping as easy as possible, and that's why we're bringing it to offices and workplaces.

"For companies, it a great way to engage with employees and improve your sustainability credentials."

Sarah Farquhar, Oxfam spokesperson, said: "Every single item of clothing donated to us from the British public finds a home and helps Oxfam raise money, whether it is resold to another Oxfam shopper, re-used or recycled. We know that people lead busy lives, so the beauty of Shwopping is that it meets people wherever they are – whether on the high street at their local M&S or Oxfam shop, or now in their own workplace."

Any interested companies should contact plana@marks-and-spencer.com. For more information on shwopping go to http://www.marksandspencer.com/shwop.

- Ends -

* £5 off a spend of £35 or more on clothing home and gifts. Valid for one month at any M&S store or online at http://www.marksandspencer.com/.

About Plan A

Plan A is Marks & Spencer's eco and ethical programme that aims to make M&S the world's most sustainable major retailer by 2015. Launched in 2007 and extended in March 2010, it takes a holistic approach to sustainability focusing on involving customers, involving all areas of the business and tackling issues such as climate change, waste, raw materials, health and being a fair partner.

About Oxfam

Oxfam is a global humanitarian, development and campaigning organisation working with others to overcome poverty and. Oxfam is working in nearly 60 countries on a diverse range of projects, from providing emergency water sources to supporting community health projects. Oxfam has more than 700 high street shops across the UK and Ireland and is the only charity retailer to operate a textile sorting facility, Wastesaver in Huddersfield.

About Business In The Community

Business in the Community (BITC) is a business-led charity with a growing membership of over 850 companies. We work locally, nationally and internationally with 115 global partners. With a further 11,000 businesses engaged in our campaigns and an employee reach of 16.8 million - we are one of the largest and most influential leadership networks focused on driving responsible business practice.

We offer our members a range of practical information, tools, training and resources to help them transform their businesses and integrate responsible practices into their operations. And we ask our members to work in partnership with us to help transform communities and tackle serious social issues where business can make a real difference, and in so doing are transformed themselves.

BITC's Responsible Business of the Year 2012 is Marks & Spencer. BITC is one of the Prince's Charities, a group of not-for-profit organisations of which The Prince of Wales is President. http://www.bitc.org.uk/

For further information on Marks & Spencer and Plan A:

Daniel Himsworth daniel.himsworth@marks-and-spencer.com 0208 718 1618

Liz Williams liz.williams@marks-and-spencer.com 0208 718 6369

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