Marks & Spencer says it has now improved the fuel efficiency of its food delivery and general merchandise fleets by 28 per cent and 30 per cent respectively against 2006/07.
And in its latest report on the progress of Plan A, it says that on 1st January 2012 all M&S operated stores, offices, warehouses and delivery fleets in the UK and Republic of Ireland became carbon neutral.
“We’ve reduced our annual carbon dioxide emissions by 158,000 tonnes since 2006/07, despite an 18 per cent growth in salesfloor footage, and purchased high quality international carbon offsets to match the remaining emissions. We improved energy efficiency across our stores, offices and warehouses by 28 per cent/sq ft.
However, the retailer said it didn’t pursue a commitment to use 50 per cent bio-diesel due to sustainability concerns over the current generation of bio-diesels made from food crops.
“However, we conducted trials on a range of other fuels including electric, diesel/electric hybrids and compressed natural gas.”
Overall, it says, Plan A generated £70m in net benefit in 2011. The report “How we do business” says that since starting on Plan A in 2007 with the launch of the teardrop trailer there has been a gradual shift from investing in the programme to reaping a net benefit. For example, £40m was invested in Plan A in 2008, in 2009 it broke even and in 2010 it generated a net benefit of £50m.
Some 138 of the 180 commitments have been achieved and a further 30 are on plan, and it is now the first major retailer to become carbon neutral.
Chief executive Marc Bolland said: “We now have a better, greener and more ethical Marks & Spencer. Moving forward we will continue to engage customers in sustainable consumption, as we have with our Shwopping initiative, the first cradle to cradle clothes retailing business model. We remain as committed to Plan A as we have ever been. It is an essential part of our DNA and fundamental to our plans to become an international, multi-channel retailer.”