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M&S reaps the rewards of sustainability

14 June 2011 No Comment

One of the UK’s biggest retailers has discovered that sustainability can be profitable, Energy and Environmental Management writes.

Marks & Spencer has announced that the savings it has made from Plan A, its sustainable development initiative, have far surpassed the scheme’s initial outlays.

sustainability-marksImage source

Sustainable branch

That’s pretty impressive considering Plan A has included the construction of a sustainable branch in Sheffield that was made entirely out of recycled products, used eco building cladding to keep warmth in and harvested rainwater to flush toilets.

A evaluation of the initiative revealed that being more environmentally friendly in stores saved the company £13.5 million in 2010. Further savings of £14 million were made by using less fuel, by recycling and re-using clothes hangers and by reducing packaging.

The retailer, while enjoying increased sales from over 21 million customers, issued a substantially reduced number of carrier bags last year; 400 million less than four years ago.

Reduction in carbon emissions

M&S claims its total carbon emissions have dropped by 13 per cent, or 90,000 tonnes, compared with figures from 2006/7. Furthermore, according to FM World, energy efficiency in-store made a 19 per cent improvement in kilowatt hours.

However, the store is most proud of the effect the campaign has had on consumers’ shopping habits.

Millions are said to have bought charity fund-raising products and many others have donated unwanted items of clothing to Oxfam via M&S’ partnership with the charity.

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