Marks & Spencer announces "Plan A", a business-wide £200m "eco-plan" which will have an impact on every part of M&S' operations over the next five years.

The 100-point plan means that by 2012 M&S will:

  1. become carbon neutral
  2. send no waste to landfill
  3. extend sustainable sourcing
  4. set new standards in ethical trading
  5. help customers and employees live a healthier lifestyle.

M&S Chief Executive, Stuart Rose said: "Every business and individual needs to do their bit to tackle the enormous challenges of climate change and waste. While M&S will continue to sell great quality, stylish and innovative products, our customers, employees and shareholders now expect us to take bold steps and do business differently and responsibly. We believe a responsible business can be a profitable business. We are calling this "Plan A" because there is no 'plan B'.

"M&S will change beyond recognition the way it operates over the next five years. We will become carbon neutral, only using offsetting as a last resort; we will ensure that none of our clothing or packaging needs to be thrown away; much of our polyester clothing will be made from recycled plastic bottles instead of oil and every year we will sell over 20 million garments made from Fairtrade cotton.

"We will clearly label the food we import by air; UK, regional and local food sourcing will be a priority and we will trial the use of food waste to power our stores. We will do this without passing on the extra cost to our customers."

"We will also help our suppliers and customers to change their behaviour. Because we are own-brand our influence extends to over 2,000 factories, 10,000 farms and 250,000 workers, as well as millions of customers visiting over 500 stores in the UK." "This is a deliberately ambitious and, in some areas, difficult plan. We don't have all the answers but we are determined to work with our suppliers, partners and Government to make this happen. Doing anything less is not an option."

Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director of Forum for the Future, who has advised M&S on "Plan A", said: "This plan sets a new benchmark in the way businesses should be tackling critical sustainability challenges like waste, fairtrade and climate change. It raises the bar for everyone else - not just retailers, but businesses in every sector. We all know that even at the end of these 5 years there will still be a huge amount for M&S to do but we warmly welcome the scale of the ambition of this plan in particular the commitment to include customers and suppliers."


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.