High street chain Marks & Spencer has announced a £200 million ‘eco plan’ which it says will make it carbon neutral in five years.
The store claims the initiative – dubbed ‘Plan A’ – will completely change the way it operates and won’t affect the prices customers pay.
Marks & Spencer says that by 2012 it will be carbon neutral, send no waste to landfill and ‘set new standards in ethical trading’.
Chief Executive Stuart Rose said: ‘We believe a responsible business can be a profitable business. We are calling this ‘Plan A’ because there is no ‘plan B’.
‘Marks & Spencer 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.’
Mr Rose said that Marks & Spencer would ensure none of its clothing or packaging needs to be thrown away. He added that much of its polyester clothing will be made from recycled plastic bottles instead of oil and every year it will sell over 20 million garments made from Fairtrade cotton.
He added: ‘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.’
Marks & Spencer estimates making its operations carbon neutral will be the equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off the road each year.
The initiative has been welcomed by Blake Lee-Harwood, Campaign Director of Greenpeace UK.
He said: ‘We’re glad a company like Marks & Spencer has proposals that begin to match the scale of the challenge of climate change and protecting our oceans and forests. If every retailer in Britain followed Marks & Spencer’s lead it would be a major step forward in meeting the challenge of creating a sustainable society.’