Marks & Spencer reckons it has reduced carbon dioxide emissions from its warehouses, delivery vehicles stores and offices by nearly 50,000 tonnes, a nine per cent decrease on last year, despite opening 103 new stores.
The company launched eco-plan in January 2007 under the name “Plan A”. This £200m plan, sets out the company’s 100 targets for the next five years, including making its own operations carbon neutral.
Chief executive Sir Stuart Rose said: “Despite tough conditions on the high street, we’ve made good progress in implementing Plan A. Although we invested in areas such as improving refrigeration systems, we found Plan A to be cost neutral during the year, due to, for example, the reduction in energy use, improved logistics, and reducing food waste in-stores. We believe we are well positioned to continue to drive our commitments forward and we know it is also what our customers expect us to do.”
So far, M&S says 17 of the 100 commitments have been delivered and a further 77 are underway.
Richard Gillies, Director of Plan A, said: “We engaged and involved customers in reducing food carrier bag use, recycling clothing and reducing wash temperatures. We also worked with suppliers to open two eco-factories in Sri Lanka and reduced our CO2 emissions in our operations by 9 per cent, despite opening 103 more stores.
“We continue to review our Plan A commitments to ensure they remain relevant, which is why, for example, we put a ‘freeze’ last year on the use of bio-fuels until sustainable supplies are available.”
Last year M&S also introduced the teardrop trailer which it reckons reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent, when compared to a standard cab-trailer fleet operation.
“We currently have 141 of the trailers on the road, all of which can carry up to 16 per cent more load than a standard trailer. The trucks’ aerodynamic shape also delivers a 10 per cent fuel saving. The teardrop trailer will reduce M&S’ carbon dioxide emissions by 840 tonnes every year.”
The amount of other waste sent to landfill from stores, offices and warehouses send has been reduced by six per cent.
During 2007 it conducted two bio-fuel trials at our warehouses in Hemel Hempstead and Crewe. However, the company said: “Following further discussions with environmental groups about the possible impacts of bio-fuels, we put this commitment ‘on hold’ in summer 2007 until sustainable supplies of bio-diesel are available.
M&S sales rose 5.1 per cent to £9bn last year although like for like sales were down half a per cent. Adjusted profit before tax was up 4.3 per cent at £1bn.