As part of a new property lease policy, M&S has reached an agreement with members of the Better Buildings Partnership, a collaboration of the UK’s major landlords working to improve the sustainability of existing commercial building stock, to ‘retro fit’ green clauses to the leases of existing M&S stores.

The collaboration is the first of its kind on this scale in the UK and will see the signing of 70 retro fit agreements across sites including Meadowhall (Sheffield), Brent Cross (London) and Silverburn (Glasgow).

The green clauses will facilitate the sharing of waste information and data such as gas, electricity and water usage in M&S occupied buildings to encourage both the landlord – typically a shopping centre or retail park – and M&S to make significant carbon reductions.

In addition, it is hoped the policy will encourage a joint approach to investment in eco building technology such as biomass boilers, LED lighting and rainwater harvesting, to further reduce building impacts and costs.

The policy is part of Plan A – M&S’ commitment to reduce energy use in its stores, offices and warehouses by 35% by 2015 against a 2007 baseline. (link)

M&S director of property Clem Constantine argued that substantial carbon reductions from the UK’s building stock could not be solely generated through new stores. She pointed out that 70% of current commercial buildings will still exist in 2050, so it was crucial the company invested in eco solutions for existing buildings.

“Currently it can be difficult for landlords and tenants to work together when it comes to a building’s environmental performance, particularly for older leases. There’s often no real structure for measurement, incentives or sharing of goals,” she said.

Constantine added: “Green leasing changes this situation as it provides the framework within which both can work together. And both will benefit – a store with a reduced environmental impact and lower costs is more marketable for landlords and more cost effective for tenants to occupy – a genuine win-win.”

Conor McGlone

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie