We will trial sustainable technologies and processes, evaluate them, and roll them out at scale and at pace in our built estate, in co-operation with our landlords and within local contexts.
Innovation is one of M&S’s core values and critical to the success of our store environments. In 2010, we committed to building two sustainable learning stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland each year. These stores helped us develop our knowledge of sustainable construction by trialling new technologies and processes which if successful and scalable were rolled out across our property portfolio. For example, since our Ecclesall Road Simply Food store opened back in April 2011 we’ve been assessing the performance of its sustainability features and some of these have now been rolled out to the wider estate including: heat reclaim in a further 18 stores, LED lighting in a further 120 stores and green living walls in a further 10 stores.
Cheshire Oaks – our multiple award winning largest ‘green’ store – has set new standards for retail developmentand has become a real legacy success story for M&S, our suppliers and the construction industry as a whole.
Although building new learning stores are useful we have hundreds of older stores across the UK and around the world. Our focus is now to ‘retrofit’ Plan A innovations into existing stores with the intention of rolling out at scale. In many ways retrofitting existing stores is more challenging than building new ones. For example, the diversity of our properties in terms of age, use, materials, location, orientation, build type, quality and so on, means that innovations need to be tailored to the particular property.
We’re now looking to introduce Sustainable Learning Stores in our international territories. These stores will have a technology or process that helps deliver Plan A and is unique to M&S stores in that country.
We are exploring how Building Information Modelling (BIM) can help facilitate ‘lean’ construction and help us reduce site waste and enable precise use of materials and trialling off-site construction/modular build techniques. For instance, we believe most of the fit-out of our stores could actually be undertaken using off-site methods – everything from wall systems, with integrated doors and pre-plumbed services, to bakeries, delis, cafés, toilets, high-level services and packaged plant.
We are also incorporating environmental leasehold clauses into new leases with our landlords covering energy, water and waste to encourage closer working relationships on mutual sustainability goals.