M&S Plan A: Product sustainability grows as LED rollout begins

M&S will bring LED lighting to every M&S food hall over the next two years as part of its ongoing Plan A 2020 programme which has given sustainability attributes to 63% of products within the first six months.

In a half-year Plan A update, the retailer detailed the LED rollout, which will see M&S install the energy efficienct lighting in 100 Simply Food stores and a further 300 food halls will receive LEDs for their refrigeration units. 

LED lighting is key to helping M&S achieve its 35% energy reduction target by 2015 and 50% by 2020. The use of LED bulbs has already been trialled in 12 stores and has shown an reduction in energy use of around 20%.

The use of LED lighting was first used at the M&S eco store in Sheffield in 2011 which was one of the first shops in the UK to use the technology.

Since then, other supermarkets and food retailers have begun to follow suit. In January, edie reported on Sainsbury’s new LED lighting system at its Leek supermarket in Staffordshire to deliver 59% energy savings and help reduce the store’s carbon footprint.

100 commitments

Plan A was launched in 2007 and included 100 commitments to transform the way M&S operated and sourced its products. In 2010, the programme was extended to include a further 80 commitments with 2015 and 2020 deadlines.

In June, the initiative was re-launched as Plan A 2020, with 100 new commitments to improve M&S’ operations and move towards more sustainable ways of doing business.

According to the update, 28% of the cotton sourced by M&S is now grown to Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) standards, using less fertiliser, less water and fewer chemicals, and earning more money for farmers.

The update also details the addition to M&S’ food delivery fleet of 14 trailers which use liquid nitrogen rather than traditional diesel fuel to refrigerate the unit.

M&S has launched the Marks & Spencer Clothes Exchange in 20 stores in the Czech Republic and 17 stores in Hong Kong. The Exchange involves the collecting and distribution of unwanted clothes to a local charity for recycling, re-use or re-sale.

Industry collaboration

Commenting on the update, Plan A director Mike Barry said: “It’s been an exciting first six months for Plan A 2020. It is helping us stand up and take action on the sustainable retail challenges of today and tomorrow.

“Our products are becoming more sustainable, we’re testing new technology that could transform our future operations and we’re supporting causes that make a real difference to the future for our customers and the local communities we operate in.

“We’re also ensuring we share best practice and learn from others. Only through collaboration will business create meaningful change and our work with the Consumer Goods Forum is a great example of big companies coming together to make shops and products better for both people and planet.”

Lois Vallely

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