Grass is greener for M&S supply chain

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Marks & Spencer has achieved 39 of the 100 goals outlined in its five-year sustainability programme Plan A, it announced in its annual How We Do Business Report.

The retailer recently opened a new green factory for one of its Chinese suppliers, which uses around 40 per cent less water and power than a standard comparable garment factory and features a grass roof, which helps keep the interior temperature stable. It also has solar light pipes, which minimise the need for any artificial lighting on the production floor.

It joins three other green factories in the M&S supply chain – two clothing factories in Sri Lanka and a furniture factory in Wales. All have green features, send reduced waste to landfill and use around 50 per cent less water and power.

The retailer is now transferring this best practice across the rest of its supply chain and is planning more eco-factories with suppliers.

Since the plan was launched in 2007 M&S has also reduced carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 100,000 tonnes, an 18 per cent decrease on its 2006/07 baseline, despite extending its trading space by 10 per cent.

The retailer is now using 241 aerodynamic teardrop trailers, which can carry up to ten per cent more than a standard trailer and are ten per cent more fuel efficient. It is also trialling a diesel-electric hybrid vehicle for deliveries to its Covent Garden store and is also testing a smaller electric delivery vehicle.

In addition, M&S and npower have signed a six-year renewable energy contract, which will see npower provide the retailer with 2.6 TWh of renewable electricity, enough to ultimately power all of its stores and offices in England and Wales.

Sir Stuart Rose, chairman of M&S, said: “We continue to make strong progress on Plan A. The economic downturn has made our targets more challenging but we don’t think this is a reason to compromise, or an excuse to not deliver on our commitments.

“Plan A isn’t only important to us, it’s also significant to our customers. They’ve told us that despite the impact of the recession our commitment to the environment and trading fairly is still important to them.”

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