Sep 30, 2021
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M&S takes deeper dive into sustainability

Sep 30, 2021

The race is on for retail carbon neutrality with Marks & Spencer has become the latest major retailer to offer up an improved sustainability programme.

Image: Pexels

It’s actually a relaunch of its ‘Plan A’ (first introduced in 2007) targeting a “singular focus on becoming a net zero Scope 3 business across its entire supply chain and products by 2040”.

It’s an “ambitious target” that would see M&S achieve full net zero “10 years ahead of the government’s UK-wide strategy”.

That means the retailer has set out a detailed roadmap to net zero “using science-based targets aligned to the UN ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5c… and will require rapid decarbonisation of its business to cut its carbon footprint by a third by 2025, from a 5.7million tonne 2017 baseline”. 

It comes “with the scale of the climate challenge bigger and more urgent than ever before”, CEO Steve Rowe said. He's written to its global supplier base and hosted a business-wide event to rally its 70,000 colleagues behind plans to put a sustainable future at the heart of its transformation strategy. 

Speaking to stakeholders, Rowe said: “We launched Plan A 14 years ago, because we knew then there was no Plan B for our planet. We now face a climate emergency, and in resetting Plan A with a singular focus we can drive the delivery of net zero across our entire end-to-end supply chain. This won’t be easy. We need to transform how we make, move and sell our products to customers and fundamentally change the future shape of our business”. 

He added: "To deliver this, we need our colleagues to better understand the carbon impact of our products and processes, we need to back our suppliers to innovate and adapt to the changing environment and we must work together to help customers enjoy lower carbon lives.” 

According to its latest ‘M&S Family Matters’ report, climate change concerns continue to grow among UK families with 64% of the 5,000 respondents naming it as a top concern, up 3% compared to just three months ago. It’s also the fastest growing topic of family discussion, increasing by 7% on last quarter.

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