M&S upbeat on eco-plan despite union criticism

19 May 2008
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20 May 2008 | Steve Bagshaw

Marks & Spencer has delivered on 17 of its 100 "eco-plan" commitments and has started work on a further 77 measures, the retailer has announced. The measures are part of its Plan A, a 100-point, five-year environmental blueprint launched last year.

Speaking at a CIPS branch event last year, Bob Tragheim, group head of non-merchandise procurement at M&S, said buyers are working with suppliers to help deliver the five pillars of the plan - to combat climate change, reduce waste, safeguard natural resources, trade ethically and build a healthier nation.

In a statement today chief executive Stuart Rose said: "We've made good progress implementing Plan A. Although we have invested in areas such as improving refrigeration systems, we found Plan A to be cost neutral during the year due to, for example, the reduction in energy use, improved logistics and reducing food waste in stores." The company said it had "reduced CO2 emissions by nearly 50,000 tonnes" across its properties, a 9 per cent decrease on the previous year. It also claimed 20 per cent growth in Fairtrade food and drink. The announcement coincided with full-year financial results from the retailer showing a profit of £1 billion in the year to the end of March, a 4.3 per cent increase on the previous 12 months. Meanwhile, trade union Unite has criticised M&S for what it describes as "a reputational risk" for its failure to "address a pattern of structural discrimination in its UK and Irish supply chain". In a statement, the union said: "Unite has evidence that there is discrimination in the treatment of some workers in the meat supply chain. A permanent two-tier workforce has been created, which often leads to conflict between migrant and indigenous workers and causes community disharmony."


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