Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges the world faces today. Its basic mechanics are well understood – the earth is warming, mainly due to greenhouse gas emissions generated by humans, with potentially damaging consequences. The challenge is to take effective action to address the issue.
Every human activity has a carbon footprint. We all need to cut emissions to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. No company can hope to prosper in a world where we continue to plunder resources and pump CO2 into the atmosphere at the rate we are today. And there are practical considerations for our business: energy costs, the availability of raw materials, new markets and new legislation.
Commitments and targets
When we launched Plan A back in 2007 we made the commitment to have carbon neutral operations by 2012, which was achieved and later extended to include all M&S operations worldwide in 2014. In 2017, we also committed to an independently approved science-based target to further reduce gross emission from our operations as well as cutting 13.3m tonnes of CO2e from our wider value chain.
The gross (Location-based) emissions from M&S global operations in 2019/20 were 338,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Down 47% against the 640,000 tonnes from when we first started to measure it in 2006/07.
The 2019/20 Market-based calculation of emissions which allows deductions for renewable energy was 195,000 tonnes, down by 70% against 2006/07. Under our approved Science Based Target, designed to keep global warming well-below 2 degrees, we're aiming for further reductions of 80% by 2030 and 90% by 2035.
In addition, at M&S we go even further by offsetting those remaining emissions to give zero net emissions, known as carbon neutrality. We were the first major retailer in the world to do this.
Our approach to climate change focuses on: