Plan A Pays Off for M&S: 30% Lower Carbon Intensity than Some Rivals

Plan A Pays Off for M&S: 30% Lower Carbon Intensity than Some Rivals

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Paul Bland

Marks & Spencer's (M&S) launched its expansive sustainability program known as Plan A in 2007 with a mind-boggling 100 goals. Another 80 were added last year.

Plan A is paying off big-time for the U.K. retailer, including nearly $111 million (£70 million) in savings so far this year. From an environmental perspective, M&S's carbon intensity also puts it at the top of the heap in a side-by-side match-up with some of its sector peers.

In numbers crunched by environmental data firm Trucost, M&S's carbon intensity was 30 percent lower than three other retailers, including Debenhams, J.C. Penney Co. and Sears Holdings Corp. Trucost measures carbon intensity as Scopes 1 and 2 emissions measured against revenue.

The sheer breadth of M&S's sustainability goals means that its efforts touch every level of its business, which has led to some creative solutions to reducing its environmental impacts. For example, the company's carbon neutral bra spotlights an energy-efficient factory in Sri Lanka, and the retailer has also gone beyond food and clothing to sell electricity and gas, GreenBiz Senior Writer Marc Gunther reported in June.

M&S would also lead the pack in terms of the cost of carbon per revenue -- nearly 38 percent lower than second place Debenhams. Trucost pegs the environmental external cost of carbon at $35.25 per metric tonne of CO2e.

Trucost's data is also on display in the Newsweek Green Rankings and our own annual State of Green Business report. These M&S numbers come from Trucost's Fact of the Week, an initiative it launched in July where the company mines its vast database of corporate environmental impacts to come up with interesting findings and potential news stories. This week, we bit.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Paul Bland.