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M&S resets its sustainability programme

With new emphasis on sustainability, the retailer is now focusing on “becoming a net zero Scope 3 business across its entire supply chain and products by 2040”

Marks and Spencer has reset its Plan A sustainability programme, with the company now focusing on  “becoming a net zero Scope 3 business across its entire supply chain and products by 2040”. 

The retailer has set out a roadmap to net zero using “science-based targets aligned to the UN ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5c”. 

The target aims to see Marks and Spencer achieve full net zero 10 years ahead of the government’s UK-wide strategy, and will require a “rapid decarbonisation of its business to cut its carbon footprint by a third by 2025, from a 5.7 million tonne 2017 baseline”. 

The retailer launched Plan A in 2007 and reached carbon neutral status in 2012, becoming the first retailer to do so. 

With climate change escalating in companies priorities, CEO Steve Rowe wrote to its global supplier base and hosted a business-wide event to rally its 70,000 colleagues behind plans to focus on sustainability. 

Plans include the launch of a new incentive programme to reward its customers when they donate preloved clothes to its Shwopping partnership with Oxfam

Furthermore, the retailer announced a new partnership with Reboot the Future, a not-for-profit organisation that works with young people and business leaders, to create resources to make it “easier for customers to discuss the challenges and opportunities to live lower carbon lives”. 

Rowe said: “We launched Plan A 14 years ago, because we knew then there was no Plan B for our planet. We now face a climate emergency, and in resetting Plan A with a singular focus we can drive the delivery of net zero across our entire end-to-end supply chain. 

“This won’t be easy. We need to transform how we make, move and sell our products to customers and fundamentally change the future shape of our business.”

He added: “This is not a far-away promise; we must act now to rapidly cut our footprint. To deliver this, we need our colleagues to better understand the carbon impact of our products and processes, we need to back our suppliers to innovate and adapt to the changing environment and we must work together to help customers enjoy lower carbon lives.” 

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