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M&S's latest Plan A review shows waste cut by a third

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has published its annual How We Do Business Report, demonstrating the company’s progress towards its aim to become the world’s most sustainable retailer by 2015.

The report outlines its achievements against the 180-commitment eco and ethical programme, Plan A initiative, launched in 2007.

The document says the net benefit of Plan A activities is estimated at more than £70m compared with £50m in 2009/10. In the process, M&S has reduced its operational waste by more than a third compared with last year, with 94% of the remaining waste being recycled, including all unsold food. The company has also increased the amount of food waste processed through anaerobic digestion (AD) from 25% to 39%.

The Oxfam Clothes Exchange, which involved two ‘One Day Wardrobe Clearout’ events, and the M&S Gadget Recycling Service, where customers recycled unwanted electrical items for money-off vouchers, both enjoyed high levels of participation at 180,000 and 8,000, respectively. In addition the Christmas card recycling collection, carried out in association with the Woodland Trust, saw a two million card increase up to 10 million cards recycled compared with the previous year.

M&S chief executive Marc Bolland said: “Plan A is now delivering more for our customers than ever before. It is creating great products with eco and ethical benefits, such as the world’s first Fairtrade vegetable and the Indigo Green fashion range. More than 180,000 people recycled their unwanted clothes with the Oxfam Clothes Exchange.”

The report also announced the recruitment of nine sustainability leaders to the new Plan A Advisory Board. The panel met for the first time in March, and will meet twice a year during the next four years.

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