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Supermarket giant crowned green champion

Marks and Spencer has been voted the greenest FTSE company in a new survey but people have grown suspicious about its pledges to recycle packaging.

The new research, conducted by public relations firm Chatsworth Communications, asked 1,500 opinion formers their views on how successful large corporations are perceived to be in tackling green issues in a changing economic environment. It included UK national and trade journalists, sustainability experts and political groups.

M&S came top of the table of green winners with 51%, followed by media company BSkyB with 9% and HSBC bank with 7%. Respondents were impressed by the firms Plan A scheme, which aims to reduce waste and tackle climate change, but were pessimistic about the supermarkets pledge to use materials that can be easily recycled.

It came sixth within the surveys green washers list, of companies which purport to be green but fail to act accordingly. A total of 10% of respondents have grown suspicious of the companys high profile green campaign, with many commenting on bad publicity about packaging. In October last year, the Local Government Association published research that showed that M&S had the lowest green rating in a packaging survey. It showed that just 60% of the organisations packaging was recyclable. One survey respondent said: Plan A is complete garbage just like their packaging.

Matthew Austin spokesman from Chatsworth Communications told MRW: People are impressed by their Plan A scheme.  Packaging is the area they need to improve on. But no company is going to be perfect. M&S realise that they have got a framework in place and that they themselves realise that this is a work in progress.

A M&S spokeswoman added: As weve said before, weve set ourselves clear and demanding targets under Plan A, to reduce our packaging and only use materials that can be easily recycled or composted. While weve made good progress over the last 12 months, we know there is still much more yet to do.

Almost 70% of our packaging is recyclable across the majority of local authorities. A further 20% could be recycled if there was a more consistent approach to recycling across the UK. Were working with local authorities to help address this.

See previous story: M&S fares badly in recycling packaging recycling, (23/10/07)

Image: M&S chief executive Stuart Rose

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