Plan A now covers one third of M&S products

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More than one third of Marks & Spencer’s products now have a Plan A attributes – an eco or ethical quality above the market norm, the retailer said in its latest update on the plan.

The solar wall at Marks & Spencer’s Castle Donington distribution centre is also highlighted in the report.

The SolarWall Transpired Solar Collector is the largest in Europe and measures 4,334 sq m, the equivalent of more than 16 tennis courts. It is expected to provide energy savings of 1.1GWh (the equivalent energy use of two large M&S stores) and estimated CO2 savings of over 250 tonnes per year.

Roger Platt, project manager at Castle Donington, said: “There’s a compelling case for renewable energy, both from a business and environmental point of view, when we build large, out-of-town sites. At our store in Cheshire Oaks a biomass boiler provides 70 per cent of the store’s heating and here at Castle Donington the solar wall was the best possible option with such a large, south facing wall. The technology offers one of the fastest returns on investment of any solar technology currently available.”

Plan A consists of 180 objectives.  The aim is to move to 50 per cent of products having a Plan A attribute by 2015 – and 100 per cent by 2020.

Other milestones include:

* Cotton sourced to “Better Cotton Initiative” standards now goes into 900 products.

* More than 2.2 million used garments have been donated to Oxfam under the “shwop” scheme.

* And money saved by recycling clothes hangers is going to support a M&S and UNICEF project in Bangladesh, launched to transform the lives of some of world’s poorest children

Richard Gillies, director of Plan A, said: “We continue to engage our customers in more sustainable living and passionately believe they are the central force for driving change.”

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