Marks & Spencer pledge to be net-zero by 2040

Marks & Spencer has announced a pledge to be net zero by 2040.

Its goal is to cut a third of its carbon footprint by 2025.. Its timeline includes a 34 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2025, a 55 percent reduction by 2030, achieving eventual net zero status by 2040.

Part of their decarbonisation process includes a commitment to zero deforestation in palm oil and soy sourcing and obtaining more sustainable fibres by 2025. The retailer has also pledged to support its Select Farm partners in lowering their carbon footprint with a five-year Farming with Nature initiative.

This is a reset from Marks & Spencer’s original Plan A scheme, launched in 2007. The first major retailer to reach a carbon neutral status in 2012, Marks & Spencer has now reworked its scheme in order to fully focus on becoming net-zero. Its new, detailed roadmap to reaching net zero status uses science based targets that align with the UN aims of limiting global warming. Its 2040 time frame is ten years ahead of the UK government strategy.

M&S CEO Steve Rowe spoke to shareholders explaining the decision to reset Plan A. In “resetting Plan A with a singular focus” M&S can “drive the delivery of net zero across our entire end-to-end supply chain”. Rowe went on to say: “this is not a far-away promise; we must act now to rapidly cut our footprint.”

As a part of their initiative to become net-zero, Marks & Spencer has introduced three colleague initiatives, the first of which identifies 100 colleagues as ‘Carbon Champions’ whose key roles in buying, sourcing and operations are helping to achieve net-zero. The company’s second initiative focuses on the development of a programme that will educate colleagues on carbon literacy and how to identify carbon related risks. Lastly, Marks & Spencer will be launching its new online site called ‘Green Network’, in order to encourage the sharing of ideas and promote innovation.

With the M&S Family Matters report revealing a growing level of concern about climate change in UK families, Marks & Spencer has created a programme to incentivize customers to achieve a lower carbon footprint. Around 64 percent of the 5,000 respondents highlighted climate change as a key matter. Marks & Spencer’s programme includes a reward programme for its 12 million Sparks customers, so that when they donate clothes to Oxfam they receive a free treat on their account through a QR code.

In an effort to create resources for people to access more information about living lower carbon lives, Marks & Spencer has also partnered with Reboot the Future. A not for profit organisation, Reboot the Future works with young people and business leaders to build ‘a compassionate and sustainable future’.


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