High street retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has been recognised for its commitment to sustainability and waste reduction, winning an award for Most Sustainable High Street Retailer at last night’s Sustainable City Awards.
For the first time, the long-running awards, presented at Mansion House in London, included a category for sustainable fashion, launched in association with the British Fashion Council (BFC), and sought to recognise the work of both high street retailers and designers.
CEO of the BFC Caroline Rush explained: “Fashion is full of possibilities and as an industry we are full of creativity; this makes fashion a powerful tool in ensuring sustainability is at the core of all business practice.”
M&S, which announced last month that it teamed up with the BFC to celebrate the ‘Best of British’ in a bid to promote British fashion and sustainability, was awarded for its forward-looking eco-friendly strategy Plan A, initially launched in 2007.
Plan A is a crucial part the retailer’s corporate responsibility strategy and has most recently included a pop-up ‘shwop shop’ at M&S’ Marble Arch flagship, attended by brand ambassador Joanna Lumley.
Last year, M&S was recognised as an “outstanding corporate citizen” at the World Retail Awards and was named Responsible Retailer of the Year while CEO Mark Bolland was appointed Vice President of charity Unicef UK.
Eco-fashion ambassador Livia Firth, who helped set up the new category and operated as a judge, presented the awards and also gave special recognition to sustainable fashion chain People Tree for its efforts in the field.
“It is exciting to reward brands and retailers which put sustainability at the forefront of their businesses and we hope they will use this as an incentive to do more and more in this direction,” Firth said.
Fair trade designer hat company Pachacuti won the award for Best Sustainable Fashion Designer, recognised for its popular designs and commitment to fair practice.
Organised by the City of London Corporation, the awards also recognised achievements in housing, finance and tackling climate change and highlighted the importance of sustainability to driving economic growth.
Simon Mills, Head of Sustainable Development at the City of London Corporation, commented: “We’re hugely impressed by the range of winners at this year’s awards, all of whom are helping drive sustainable economic growth.
“This category was an obvious choice to be included as eco-fashion captures the hearts and minds of so many and can spearhead sustainability across all sectors.”