Find out more about our approach to reducing food waste
Today several billion tonnes of food are produced each year globally. Many food manufacturers and retailers take waste prevention seriously as part of their commitment to responsible business conduct and sustainability. Addressing food waste represents a significant opportunity as it could lead to improved food security for people and communities, reduced demands on the planet as well as improved costs for companies in the food value chain and their respective customers.
Across the industry unavoidable waste is now commonly sent to anaerobic digestion, energy from waste solutions, or is used as animal feed. By building on efforts made to date, the industry recognises that there is an opportunity to go even further through greater waste prevention and redistributing that which cannot be prevented.
We work extremely hard across all areas of our business – farmers, suppliers, distributors and stores – on a shared goal of minimising the amount of M&S food that goes unsold. Where there is unsold M&S food, we will, wherever we can, put it to the best possible use and believe we have an important role to play in engaging our customers and suppliers in a collective effort on this issue which can make a positive difference to our business and local communities.
Commitments and targets
Waste has always been a Plan A priority and we have an overarching ambition to be a zero waste business. We have committed to reduce food waste in our M&S operated stores in the UK by 20% per square foot by 2020 against a 2013/14 baseline, to halve food waste (net relative to sales) by 2025 and ensure all our edible food waste is redistributed via our charity partners.
We are also signatories to Courtauld 2025 where tackling food waste across the industry is one of its priorities.
Our priority is to reduce the food waste we create and ensure as much surplus as possible reaches people’s plates.
Our work with WRAP, Consumer Goods Forum, Institute of Grocery Distribution, British Retail Consortium (BRC)and our suppliers has highlighted the need for us to focus not only on our stores and logistics, but also on reducing waste from our supply chain and engaging customers to store and use food more efficiently.
We monitor our overall waste performance on a monthly basis. Annual progress is independently assured and reported in our Plan A Report. Find out more about our approach to waste and circular economy.
From 1 April 2013, M&S-operated and joint-venture stores, offices, warehouses and delivery fleets around the world have been carbon neutral. The recycling and disposal of our waste is included within our reporting boundaries. Find out more about our approach to climate change.
We have a unique role to play in engaging and taking action on food waste where we can make a significant positive difference to our business and our local communities.