High street retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has been named Responsible Retailer of the Year at the World Retail Awards last night, it has been announced.
Recognised as an “outstanding corporate citizen” which “’delivers world class standards of best practice in corporate responsibility’, this accolade follows news that the retailer was named Company of the Year at Business in the Community’s Awards for Excellence in June.
M&S has been awarded thanks to its environmental and ethical programme ‘Plan A’ was launched in 2007 with the aim of making the company the first major retailer to become carbon neutral, while also working to achieve its goal of sending zero waste to landfill.
A statement from the retailer, which jointly won the award along with its South African partner Woolworths, said: “The judges recognised the scale of achievement of Plan A, M&S’ 180 commitment eco and ethical programme, in making the company’s operations carbon neutral, sending zero waste to landfill and its commitment to develop more sustainable products, help its customers live more sustainable lives and engage with its employees.”
This year alone, M&S has undertaken a number of initiatives to improve conservation efforts and reduce landfill, including the launch of the M&S Big Beach Clean-up alongside the Marine Conservation Society which saw volunteers take to Britain’s beaches to remove rubbish from shorelines in the hopes of raising awareness of the environmental dangers to fishing stocks.
Meanwhile, actress and activist Joanna Lumley became the face of the ‘Schwopping’ campaign which saw thousands of customers donate clothes to be recycled, reused or resold with over half a million items exchanged within six weeks.
Collecting the award, M&S CEO Marc Bolland commented: “It is our mission to engage millions of people in the journey to a world of more sustainable consumption through customer initiatives like Shwopping.
“Eco-friendly, multi-channel shops like our new Cheshire Oaks store are the future. Plan A is how we do business at M&S - it involves our customers, our employees, our suppliers and our supplier’s suppliers. We are fully committed to it”