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Environmental risks and social inequality are making the world more complicated and unpredictable. Growing pressure on natural resources and poor global stewardship may increase our costs, restrict our access to key raw materials and make our global supply chains more volatile. According to the IEA, the buildings and buildings construction sectors combined are responsible for over one-thirs of global final energy consumption and nearly 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions.

Organisations with responsibility for property management are increasingly challenged in areas such as health and safety, energy efficiency and use of resources, social responsibility and community engagement.

Our Property Group is responsible for the acquisition, design, procurement, construction and maintenance of our buildings in the M&S estate including stores, offices and distribution sites. Plan A is integral to the way in which we operate and we are working hard to make our buildings more sustainable.

Commitments and targets

We are committed to improving the sustainability of the M&S estate which has been underpinned by a number of Plan A commitments relating to property.

Approach

Plan A is integral to how we do business and in making our buildings more sustainable we aim to:

  • Adopt a sustainable approach to deliver smarter acquisition and investment decisions;
  • Apply sustainable design and specification principles to new and existing sites;
  • Embed sustainable practices within the procurement of products and services for our estate;
  • Drive sustainable construction through using innovative materials, minimising our use of resources, enhancing our local communities and ensuring full delivery and handover against design expectations; 
  • Improve the efficiency of our buildings through optimising operational performance and promoting sustainable behaviour.

Internationally, we operate within a range of different legislative environments and economic frameworks. As a result, there is myriad legislation that we need to adhere to. For example, in the UK major pieces of legislation include the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting Scheme, Building Regulations, minimum energy efficiency standards, F-Gas regulations, and of course town and country planning.

We’ve also achieved a number of industry firsts - we were the first retailer to be:

  • Certified to all three Carbon Trust Standards for our achievements in carbon, water and waste reduction
  • Certified to ISO 50001:2011 the international Energy Management Systems standard for our internal energy management systems and processes in the UK and Republic of Ireland
  • Awarded The Wildlife Trust Biodiversity Benchmark in recognition of our efforts at Cheshire Oaks
Since 2010, we have received over 50 awards in recognition of our sustainability accomplishments within the property arena.    

 

We've adopted a holistic approach to managing sustainability and delivering Plan A in our properties and construction projects and are proud of a number of key achievement in crucial areas, such as energy and refrigeration, since the launch of Plan A.

Energy

Our energy strategy centres around 3 basic principles: (1) reduce the amount of energy we use within our global built environment; (2) source as much energy as possible from renewable, small scale sources; and (3) work with credible, innovative and world leading partners to offset the energy we have to use and achieve carbon neutrality.


Over the past 13 years, we have been on a journey to transform our business to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We have achieved this through monitoring our energy use, giving each of our stores individual targets to achieve, pioneering new low carbon technologies and investing in energy efficient equipment.


We believe we can make significant savings and improve performance through smarter staff engagement. We have introduced new and innovative energy saving campaigns to engage, energise, and reward staff to help us achieve our goals.


We operate in accordance with an M&S Group wide Energy Policy and our energy management systems and processes in the UK and the Republic of Ireland are certified to ISO 50001:2011 the international Energy Management Systems standard.


We source all our electricity in the UK and the Republic of Ireland from renewable sources. We are also making good progress generating renewable energy in our own estate - in 2015 launched the UK’s largest single roof mounted solar panel array at our Castle Donnington warehouse; and in 2017 we launched M&S Energy Society, a community benefit society that generates renewable electricity from solar panels installed on 8 M&S stores.

Since the 1 April 2013, M&S operated and joint-venture stores, offices, warehouses and delivery fleets around the world have been carbon neutral.


Find out more about our approach to climate change.

Refrigeration

Since 2016, we have installed HFC-free sales-floor refrigeration systems into our new stores. We want to phase out the use of HFCs in our estate and reduce our refrigeration gas carbon emissions.


We are a supporter of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) objective to reduce the environmental impact of refrigeration. In 2019, we installed Shelf Edge Technology to our fridges to improve energy efficiency and enhance customer comfort. 


Find out more about our approach to climate change.

Resources

We aim to ensure that natural resources are used efficiently in the development, fit-out and operation of our buildings in order to reduce their embodied and operational impacts.  Within our own operations we have taken steps to improve our use of recycled and recyclable materials in the consumable items we use in our stores and offices. We’ve reduced our water consumption through the specification of efficiency measures and eliminating on-site water leakage, and have established sustainability standards for the materials we use for store retrofits and new-builds.

We follow our corporate forest sourcing policy, and ensure only FSC certified sustainable timber is used in our store fit out.

Find out more about our approach to managing natural resources.   

Waste

By reducing, reusing and recycling waste from operational, construction and fit-out activities at M&S, we are able to prevent precious resources from going to landfill, thereby reducing our environmental impact and minimising financial cost.


We have sent zero waste generated from our construction projects, stores, offices and warehouses to landfill in the UK and Republic of Ireland since 2012. We have become leaner in our construction activities by avoiding the over specification of materials we use.  In both our store and construction activities we have segregation practices in place to maximise recycling and have established donation routes to help promote re-use. For example, throughout the Cheshire Oaks building project we sent zero waste to landfill with 87.5% of all waste segregated on site.

Going forward, we will prioritise business model innovation and put the circular economy into practice. Find out more about our approach to waste and the circular economy.

Future Proof

In designing, building, refurbishing and operating properties, we need to be mindful of future climatic changes and costs to ensure that our buildings remain fit for their purpose within the context of their locality.


Making sure that the built environment is efficient and enjoyable for users is imperative not just in the present but for the whole life of our buildings. Climate resilience and adaptation is a key consideration for all store retrofits and new-build projects.

Future climate risks include energy management (increased demand for energy for cooling and security of supply), internal store environment (staff and customer comfort levels), water management (flooding and drought) and building fabric (wind/storms).

We have worked with Arup to review how our stores cope with extreme climate risks to ensure climate resilience.

We adopt a whole-life-cost approach to financial decision making, so that we are minimising our costs over the lifetime of an asset. In addition to considering upfront capital costs, we also consider lifetime costs including: lifecycle replacement, maintenance, cleaning, energy, water and carbon cost.

Find out more about our approach to climate change. 

Working with others

Listening, learning, responding and working in partnership is an important part of how we do business.

A large number of organisations are supporting the delivery of our Plan A commitments relating to property. For example, we are working with the World and UK Green Building Councils to work together towards a better built environment, and with the Considerate Constructors Scheme to ensure we have a positive impact on the lives of people and communities. Through the Consumer Goods Forum we are supporting the phase-out of HFC-refrigerants. We also work with a number of organisations such as Arup, BRE and Buro Happold and academic institutions to develop and trial new innovative tools and ways of working.

Operationally, Veolia are helping us maintain our zero waste to landfill goal and the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex), Altius, and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) are helping to shape our approach to supply chain assurance.