High street giant Marks & Spencer has outlined plans to become the UK’s most sustainable retailer by 2015 as part of its Plan A programme.
Among 80 commitments added to the original 100 formed in 2007 are pledges to cease sending operational and construction waste to landfill, reduce operational waste by 25 per cent and cut construction waste in half.
M&S executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose said: “If we’re serious about becoming the world’s most sustainable major retailer, we must take a holistic approach to sustainability - focusing on involving our customers in Plan A, making Plan A how we do business and extending our existing social and environmental commitments.”
The retailer also plans to open two ‘eco-learning stores’ each year to enable testing of new sustainable technologies.
Its ultimate aim is to create a store with a net positive biodiversity impact, through zero-carbon construction and the use of 100 per cent recyclable materials.
The latest progress report from Plan A revealed a 19 per cent increase in store energy efficiency and an 18 per cent
reduction in store refrigeration emissions, which was largely achieved through retrofitting.
Eco-friendly CO2-based refrigeration systems have now been fitted in 16 stores and the retailer hopes to install them on all new developments as part of its plan to ensure none of its refrigeration or HVAC systems contain harmful HFC gases by 2030.
The firm has also developed a training school in CO2 refrigeration technology to help address the skills shortage and has trained more than 150 engineers.
Mel Starrs, principal consultant at sustainable design consultant Inbuilt, said: “With air conditioning and cooling loads being the major source of M&S’s emissions, the improvement here makes sense - it is both reducing the load and using a less harmful refrigerant.”