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M&S resets sustainability targets to be fully net-zero by 2040

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2021-10-04 06:18:34 – United Kingdom

British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S), has relaunched its Plan A sustainability initiative, with the goal of being a net-zero Scope 3 business across its whole supply chain and products by 2040.

M&S has laid out a detailed roadmap to net-zero emissions, based on science-based targets that are compatible with the UN's goal of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. M&S would achieve full net-zero 10 years ahead of the government's UK-wide ambition, which would necessitate rapid decarbonization of its business to reduce its carbon footprint by a third by 2025, from a 5.7 million tonne baseline in 2017.

Plan A was initiated in 2007 by the retailer, and it claims to be the first big shop to achieve carbon-neutral status in 2012. M&S CEO Steve Rowe has written to its global supplier base and organized a business-wide event to rally its 70,000 staff behind plans to put a sustainable future at the heart of its transformation strategy, with the size of the climate crisis greater and more urgent than ever before.

Rowe told stakeholders that Plan A was started 14 years ago because they knew there was no Plan B for our planet at the time. They’re now in the midst of a climate emergency, and resetting Plan A with a focused focus, they can ensure net zero emissions across our whole end-to-end supply chain. This isn't going to be easy. They need to radically change the future shape of their business by transforming how they create, move, and sell their products to customers.

Rowe added that this isn't a pipe dream; they need to act today to reduce their carbon footprint. To accomplish this, they need their employees to have a greater understanding of the carbon effect of their products and processes, they need to support their suppliers in their efforts to innovate and adapt to the changing climate, and they need to collaborate to assist customers to live lower-carbon lives.

30 September also sees the return of M&S's 'Look Behind the Label' campaign, which highlights the company's efforts to do the right thing for the planet. The campaign focuses on the tales behind five daily products that are responsibly sourced, ranging from coffee to cotton. Customers will be able to see behind the M&S label - on M&S's new Look Behind the Label site – first with a focus on climate. M&S's tales will be shared across the company's entire ESG program, from its industry-leading animal welfare standards to its community impact.

In addition, as part of its net-zero strategy, M&S has launched three significant colleague projects. To begin, M&S has designated 100 colleagues as "Carbon Champions" in essential responsibilities such as purchasing, sourcing, and operations in order to achieve net-zero delivery. Second, the company is creating a training program to improve carbon literacy and provide its employees with the knowledge to recognize carbon-related risks and opportunities.

Finally, M&S is introducing a new online Green Network to share ideas, inspiration, and innovation with colleagues all over the world.

M&S formed an ESG board sub-committee in January 2021 to oversee the company's overall ESG program, including Plan A, human rights and ethical trade, community, people, health, and animal welfare, and to hold the company's leadership accountable for its implementation.

As the retailer enters the next phase of its transformation, M&S says it is resetting its investment strategy to ensure Plan A is at the center of all investment choices. M&S is investing in new data platforms and technology to measure and monitor its Scope 3 emissions digitally, allowing it to disclose its progress in a transparent manner.

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