According to a recent progress report, Marks and Spencer’s highly acclaimed plan A strategy is not only paying dividends in their fight to create a more sustainable organisation but is also having a positive impact on their bottom line.
According to the retailer, Plan A initiatives last year resulted in £135 million of net benefits, up from approximately £105 million the previous year.
M & S launched Plan A in January 2007 which targeted 100 sustainability targets (now expanded to 180) across 5 key themes. The strategy has received wide acclaim. They successfully met two headline targets in 2011/2012 when they achieved a carbon neutral position and sent zero waste to landfill. However M & S have revealed that they have been able to cut emissions further and reduce the amount of waste produced. M & S’s carbon footprint has reduced by 23% since 2006/2007 demonstrating the success of the plan. Overall 139 of the 180 targets have been met with another 31 described as “on track”.
So what next for Plan A? Richard Gillies, Director of Plan A insists that there is much more that needs to be done to realise M & S’s ambition to become a truly sustainable business. Further insight will no doubt be revealed when a revised Plan A is published later this year.
The progress report M&S staff believe that waste reduction should be prioritised, whilst the sustainability Retail Advisory Board has encouraged the retailer to develop greater engagement for their customers.
One case study we feel particularly passionate about is he Eco store at Cheshire Oaks. This store which is ‘up the road’ from our head office demonstrates some incredible sustainable features and achievements, including:
- Sustainable construction materials were used in construction, including HempClad, an innovative prefabricated wall panel that creates high levels of insulation and absorbs CO2 as it grows
- Zero construction waste to landfill during construction
- 99.5% of timber in the shell build came from FSC certified sources
- Electric car charging points in the car park
- High levels of reuse of surplus building materials into community projects, through local community engagement and the Recipro Managed Service
M&S have done some incredible work and made some fantastic achievements so far, we can’t wait to see what’s next!