Business & Nature in harmony

M&S: On the road to carbon reduction

M&S has taken pioneering steps in sustainability: both as the first major UK retailer to become fully ‘carbon neutral’ back in 2012, plus the first to have received the triple award for achievements in carbon, water and waste reduction from the Carbon Trust.

For all worldwide operations and products, M&S has a total carbon footprint of approximately 8 million tonnes.

M&S collaborated with each part of the supply chain to map out every tier of activity involved in storing, collating and transporting M&S products. They then went out in search of the information needed to calculate the footprint for each activity.

Bringing these numbers together, the study indicates logistics contributes to approximately 336,000 of the total M&S business emissions. Not surprisingly, transport is responsible for the major part of our logistics carbon footprint (85%), whilst warehousing generates the remainder (15%).

 So, armed with the facts, they have already made changes in both their transport and warehousing operations that are reducing their emissions.

In transport, as the data tells  60% of the footprint comes from road-vehicle movements, they targeted carbon reduction in two key ways: Increased the use of double-deck trailers and Rolling-out driver performance software.

For warehousing, data indicates 88% of carbon is generated from electricity, so here they used this information to support investment in technology projects, such as: The world’s largest solar panel, generating around 5 million kWh of electricity a year for our Castle Donington site and Passive Infra-Red (PIR) lighting in manual warehouses, with sensors to turn lights on and off, plus adjust for levels of natural light – resulting in a 50% cut in carbon.

So, these very different projects illustrate the range of routes open to M&S on the road to an ambitious carbon reduction.  Looking to the future, they will continue to find innovative ways to reduce the carbon footprint in their supply chain.


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