M&S unveils new investments in push to achieve 2040 net zero goals

M&S has unveiled an array of new investments in collaborative, pioneering projects to help achieve its 2040 net zero goals.

The upmarket retailer is investing £1m in a change to the diet of the pasture-grazed cows in its milk pool to reduce the amount of methane produced in a cow’s stomach and released into the atmosphere.

The UK first-to-market initiative, which will see the grocer working with all 40 of the Select dairy farmers in its milk pool, will remove a projected 11,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere annually, cutting M&S’ RSPCA-assured core fresh milk carbon footprint by 8.4%.

M&S has also launched a £1m Plan A Accelerator Fund and is working in partnership with long-standing and new suppliers to take rapid action towards net zero through a series of innovation projects.

One of the first projects supported by the fund is what M&S describes as a “first of its kind trial”, asking customers to donate their unwearable clothes to Oxfam, alongside wearable clothing.

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These unwearable items will be cleaned and used to support fibre to fibre recycling, where fibres are re-used and turned into new material, preventing them going to landfill and moving closer to a more circular fashion economy.

A new trial using AI data to predict a store’s optimal heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls to reduce energy consumption will also be rolled out across six stores.

This aims to reduce HVAC costs by up to 30% and when run across the M&S estate, it could save an estimated 2,000 tonnes of carbon and around £3m annually.

More than eight initiatives will be funded through the Plan A Accelerator Fund this year, with some looking at energy, recycling, technology and water.

M&S CEO Stuart Machin said: “I talk a lot about the ‘magic of M&S’ – and a key part of this is our commitment to innovation. It’s in our DNA and, along with our unique model of own brand, long term supplier partnerships, it’s how we deliver the quality and trust our customers expect from us.

“By turning our obsession with innovation towards climate change and tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit of our suppliers we can turbo charge our drive to be a Net Zero business across all our operations and entire supply chain by 2040.

“I’m excited by the big difference these small changes could make to some of the toughest climate challenges we face.”



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