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M&S Eco and Ethical Report Puts Customers First



Marks & Spencer has published its first report under new Chief Executive Officer Steve Rowe. Its 2016 Plan A Report shows the business has made positive progress on its eco and ethical programme. Marks & Spencer reports it achieved another 22 commitments across the 2015/16 year and further progress was made in connecting with its 32 million customers.

Marks & Spencer’s 2016 Plan A Report pledges to go even further on customer engagement by putting its customers at the heart of the plan.

Steve Rowe, Marks & Spencer’s Chief Executive said: “We are putting customers right at the heart of our business. That includes Plan A as much as any other part of our business and that’s why Plan A is now part of our customer and marketing team. It is a crucial part of how we engage with our customers, gain their trust and make every moment special for them. We know that Plan A is a win-win approach – a simpler, more efficient, less wasteful business is better for the planet and our bottom line – so we’ll chase that even harder.”

Highlights from the new report include nearly three quarters (73%) of all M&S products now have an eco or ethical quality (up from 64% last year) notable progress on improving UK and Ireland store and warehouse energy efficiency (energy use down 39%) and water efficiency (water use down 31%) and several firsts including the launch of an interactive supply chain map and the publication of the M&S Human Rights report.

Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer, said: “2015 was an important year for sustainable business and Plan A. Yet again we’ve achieved tough and stretching targets. The successful Paris Climate negotiations and the launch of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals have created a long-term direction of travel for the global economy and companies need a bold vision and comprehensive plan to make sure they are aligned with these important agreements.

“Under Steve’s leadership we’ll continue to play our part and crucially put the customer at the heart of everything we do, nurturing the strong trust they have in us and inspiring them with new and innovative solutions to more sustainable living that feels personal and local to them.”

2015/16 Plan A highlights in more detail

Charity donations help reduce food waste by 9%

Food waste reduced by 9% per 1,000 square feet of food selling space, achieved through improved systems leading to better sales estimation and the nationwide roll out of an unsold food redistribution scheme with social network The scheme has seen M&S owned stores work with 500 charities such as food banks and community cafes.

Plastic microbeads removed to help protect marine life

Plastic microbeads from wash-off personal care products were removed in April 2015, almost a year ahead of the 2016 Plan A target. Plastic microbeads are harmful to marine life and end up in our oceans when washed into the water system.

Clothing and food suppliers detailed on interactive supply chain map

Customers and stakeholders can now see where M&S clothing and home products are made and food products are produced on the M&S supply chain interactive map.  690 clothing and home and 540 Food suppliers are listed.

Only certified sustainable palm oil used in M&S products

All palm oil used in M&S products in 2015/16 was Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified. 99% was a mix of segregated and mass balance (last year 82%), with the remaining one per cent covered by the purchase of Green Palm certificates to encourage the transition to sustainable supplies (last year 18%).

Nearly three quarters of M&S products have an eco or ethical quality

73% of M&S products sold (based on volume) had at least one Plan A quality above and beyond the market norm in 2015/16 (64% in 2014/15). Examples include the UNICEF shopping bag made from up-cycled hotel linen, the Limited London clothing collection made from sustainable fabrics in eco factories and the launch of Active Health – cholesterol lowering prepared meals.

90% of Sparks card holders have chosen a charity to support and donations set to pass £1 million mark

90% of customers that hold a Sparks membership card have chosen one of nine charities to support. M&S donates a penny to the customer’s chosen charity every time they shop at M&S and donations are set to pass the £1 million mark next week (week commencing 13th June). Charities benefitting include Macmillan Cancer Support, Great Ormond Street and Shelter.

Store and warehouse energy use down 39%, water use down 31%

Total energy use across UK and Ireland stores, warehouses and offices was down 39% and water use was down 31% (both figures against a 2006/07 baseline) as continued investment in technology and people engagement paid dividend.

First M&S Human Rights Report published

In recognition of the growing, global focus on Human Rights and the role business plays in protecting them, M&S has joined the UN Global Compact and today published its first ever Human Rights Report. The report outlines M&S’ approach to respecting human rights both within its own business operations and throughout its supply chain.

Read the full report on the Marks and Spencer website.



A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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