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Marks & Spencer green growth case study

Marks & Spencer: putting climate change at the heart of conversations with consumers

• Marks & Spencer's Plan A programme has put sustainability at the centre of how it does business and engages with its customers, employees and people working in its supply chain.
• Through Plan A, M&S has introduced products and services to help customers live more sustainably and last year generated £50m additional profit which has been invested back into the business.
• M&S has invested in energy efficiency measures in its stores and offices to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs.

About Plan A
In January 2007, Marks & Spencer launched Plan A, its eco and ethical programme to tackle issues such as climate change, waste, raw materials, health and being a fair partner.

Since its launch, Plan A has made a real difference to the environment and for M&S customers, employees and people working in its supply chain. 70 of the original 100 Plan A commitments have been reached and last year Plan A generated £50m additional profit which M&S invested back into the business.

In 2010, M&S set out 80 new commitments with the aim of becoming the world's most sustainable major retailer by 2015.

Energy efficiency
Tackling climate change is a key Plan A objective. When Plan A was launched, M&S measured its baseline energy use across its UK and Republic of Ireland operations. To date, M&S has improved store energy efficiency by 19% and has a target of 35% by 2015. This has helped M&S cut carbon emissions from its operations by 8% and M&S aims to become carbon neutral by 2012.

Working with the Carbon Trust
In 2009, after a rigorous assessment, M&S was awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for measuring, managing and reducing its carbon footprint year on year. As well as retrofitting stores, under the guidance of the Carbon Trust, M&S completed many actions which not only helped to cut greenhouse gases, but also to save money. Some examples include:

• Improving the clothing transport fuel efficiency of the delivery fleet by 30% against 2006/07.
• Replacing nearly 400 trailers with aerodynamic 'teardrop' trailers which are 10% more fuel efficient and hold 10% more product.
• Cutting refrigerant gases by 18% by replacing HCFC refrigerant gases in its refrigeration and air conditioning systems to less harmful HFC gases.

M&S Energy
Through Plan A, M&S also introduced a number of new products and services, such as M&S Energy which provides domestic energy, insulation services and, most recently, solar panels for over 300,000 customers.

Richard Gillies, director of Plan A, CSR and sustainable business at Marks & Spencer, said: "Through Plan A, our ethical and environmental programme, we've proved that doing the right thing makes complete business sense.

"By increasing our energy efficiency and creating new markets such as M&S Energy, Plan A is not only profitable but also helps the environment. We still face many challenges in becoming a truly sustainable business, but we know the green growth market offers us and other businesses huge opportunities. Because of this, we've long said that sustainability is critical to future business success, that's why we're supporting the Carbon Trust's Green Growth campaign."

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