Pillar 3

Climate change

Our planet is getting warmer – mainly because of an increase in greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity – with many damaging consequences. Climate change is a global challenge but one that we’re helping to address.

Staying carbon neutral

In 2012 M&S operated stores, offices, warehouses and delivery fleets in the UK and Republic of Ireland became carbon neutral, making us the first major retailer to achieve this. In 2012/13 we continued to improve efficiency and purchased high quality carbon offsets to match our emissions, so we remain the only major retailer with carbon neutral operations.

Reducing our carbon emissions

By the end of this year, we’d reduced our CO2e emissions by 23% compared to 2006/07. That’s a reduction of over 160,000 tonnes a year or 37% per square foot of our stores, distribution centres and offices.

We’ve also reduced emissions from store refrigeration systems by 60% and maintained improved fuel efficiency in our delivery fleets of over 30%.

We’re working with our suppliers and the UK’s Product Sustainability Forum, Sustainable Clothing Action Plan and The Sustainability Consortium to reduce product related emissions.

Improving our energy efficiency

The story behind our continuing reductions in CO2e emissions features a number of achievements. These include a 31% improvement in overall energy efficiency per square foot compared to 2006/07, after making adjustments for differences in the weather from year to year. We’ve achieved this by making gradual improvements. By the end of 2012/13 we’d installed around 200 energy efficient store lighting schemes and cut CO2e emissions from our refrigerators by 60% thanks to fewer leaks and less harmful gases.

We’re proud that M&S is the first major UK retailer to be certified to the ISO 50001 global energy management standard.

At the same time we know that we still face challenges. For example, we’re struggling to meet our target to reduce business flights by 20%, achieving only 7% so far – which means we’ll need to work a lot harder over the next 12 months.