By Gemma Childe on 11th Jun 2012
M&S is celebrating becoming the first major UK retailer to become fully carbon neutral, despite a few disappointments along the way.
The retailer says it is now fully carbon neutral, after reducing energy usage by 28% through more efficient refrigeration, and counting renewable energy tariffs and offsetting.
It launched its ‘Plan A’ sustainability project five years ago and has already met many targets.
However, the firm has failed to triple sales of organic food and drink by 2012, which is one challenge it hoped to meet.
While sales of Fairtrade products have increased by 88% -and organic products are popular in its 300 cafes – sales of organic products in store remain the same as five years ago.
The 2012 How We Do Business Report details the progress of the 180 commitments set out to ensure sustainable policies are at the heart of every aspect of its business, including its supply chain.
M&S have addressed social and environmental issues that range from energy saving and carbon emissions to Fairtrade and animal welfare.
Mike Barry, head of sustainable business at M&S, said: "There are a couple of disappointments but these are challenging economic times and M&S deserves eight out of ten for making some substantive achievements in the first five years of Plan A. This detailed evaluation shows the powerful business case for the initiative. We look forward to working further with our 21 million shoppers to make further progress by 2020."
In 2010 M&S announced an extended Plan A with 80 new commitments to achieve by 2015 and made no secret of its plan to become the world's most sustainable major retailer.
The report reveals that 138 commitments have been achieved and a further 30 are on target to be met within the specified timescale.
The company also now recycles 100% of its waste and it aims that by 2020, all M&S products will have at least one sustainable characteristic