M&S teams up with Unicef to offset CO2

29th November 2013

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Marks & Spencer (M&S) is to sponsor a Unicef project that will save 40,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and improve the quality of life of thousands of Bangladeshi families

The UK retailer is the first major company to sign up to Unicef’s new carbon offsetting programme, which will fund the manufacture and maintenance of thousands of fuel-efficient stoves in Bangladesh.

Currently 90% of households in Bangladesh burn solid fuels, such as wood, forest cuttings and animal dung. The resulting indoor air pollution causes 49,000 deaths a year, according to the World Health Organisation, 70% of which are children under five.

The new Unicef programme, which is due to launch in February 2014, will pay for entrepreneurs in Bangladesh to be trained in how to manufacture, sell and maintain stoves that are 50% more fuel efficient that tradition indoor cooking stoves.

Each stove produces 1 tonne fewer carbon emissions a year than a standard stove and will significantly improve living conditions for the families using them.

The programme, which aims to qualify for “Gold Standard” carbon credit certification, will run for 10 years and aims to create and sell 20,000 stoves a year.

Under its Plan A commitment to be a carbon neutral, M&S has agreed to fund the project for its first two years.

“Being carbon neutral is a key part of Plan A and it’s important that, wherever we can, we invest in high quality offsets that support communities within which we operate,” commented Marc Bolland, chief executive of M&S.

Yoka Brandt, deputy executive director of Unicef, said: “We are delighted that M&S is supporting Unicef’s carbon offset pilot project in Bangladesh, which helps to reduce indoor air pollution and its serious consequences on the health of children.

“This demonstrates how innovative private sector partnerships can positively impact the wellbeing of children and the world that they inherit.”

M&S’s decision to support the Unicef project was praised by Jonathan Porritt, co-founder of Forum for the Future, who said “This [project] ticks literally all the boxes in terms of improved health, local economic benefits and reduced emissions of CO2.”

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