A total of 45% of M&S products now carry the ‘Plan A’ standard, meaning they meet requirements such as being Fairtrade, carbon neutral or made from sustainable materials.

This is an increase of 10% since November last year.  

The findings were published today in an update on the company’s sustainability programme, Plan A, which also shows that 139 of the 180 of its sustainability commitments have been achieved with a further 31 ‘on target to be fulfilled.

In addition, M&S has also reduced its CO2 emissions by 23% compared with 2006/07 and reduced its waste by 28% since 2008/09.

According to the retailer, last year Plan A delivered £135m in net benefits to re-invest in the M&S business.

M&S CEO Marc Bolland said: “We must continue to adapt and step up to the challenge of the world’s climatic and demographic changes. Growing global consumption will continue to put pressure on finite resources, extreme weather is becoming a reality and social pressures, such as youth unemployment, are becoming more acute.

“We have moved closer to our vision of M&S as a sustainable international multi-channel retailer, but we know that we still have a long way to go to make this a reality. Through Plan A we will continue to push the business case for social and environmental responsibility, develop new alliances and learn from others.”

M&S also has a target to procure 25% of the cotton it uses from sustainable sources by 2015 and this year items made from the Better Cotton Initiative, Fairtrade, organic or recycled cotton, accounted for nearly 11% of its total cotton tonnage, which is an increase of nearly 4% on 2012.

In addition, refrigeration CO2 emissions were down by 60% in 2012/13 when compared with the 2007 baseline, while water use at M&S was down by 27%.

Conor McGlone

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