Tuesday, 13 December 2011

One of the nice things about being home in England is shopping in MARKS AND SPENCERS

You have probably heard plenty in recent years about the world’s rapidly expanding movement toward “going green,” which has begun to impact many aspects of our lives. From the development of electronic cars, to increased research toward alternative energy, there are all sorts of changes being made, all with the same common goal of turning the world into a more energy efficient, less wasteful environment. Of course, for this goal to ever be completed, people and companies alike need to recognize the needs at hand and begin to act toward positive change. I've been aware of a lot of GREENWASHING in recent year - corporations jumping on the Green Bandwagon as a way to raise their green image. From talking to friends in those sectors, there are certain companies that are putting their money where their green mouths are. I believe Marks & Spencer – one of the largest stores popular in the UK – has set an example along these lines by implementing a full-scale effort toward becoming the world’s most sustainable retail store by the year 2015.

Marks & Spencer’s plan toward sustainability has been labeled, simply, “Plan A,” (because there is no Plan B)  and contains a number of different aspects designed to enhance the “green” nature of the company’s functions. Here is an explanation of the five main strands to the plan :

•    Climate Change – Marks & Spencer is determined to reduce its carbon footprint by lowering emissions. The hope is for the company to be carbon neutral in the UK in another year, as well as to implement the use of renewable electricity.

•    Waste – Marks & Spencer is attempting to limit the number of bags and packages they put out each year by reducing the physical packaging and using recyclable materials – this will, in the long term, decrease waste output.

•    Sustainable Raw Materials – Careful animal welfare will be practiced by the company with regard to the poultry, fish, and general animal-related products sold in the stores. The sources of these animals are to be monitored closely to ensure proper treatment.

•    Fair Partner – This section of “Plan A” relates to the company’s commitment to providing a “new standard in ethical trading,” by buying and selling fair trade products.

•    Health – Marks & Spencer is also making a strong push toward providing healthy options with regard to food and groceries. Harmful food elements like salts and fats are being done away with to the greatest extent possible, and health advisors are being hired. All of this can contribute to generally healthier food options, and, ultimately, healthier dieting habits for customers. 

I read a few years ago that since M&S had started charging for plastic carrier bags in their shops, they have saved millions of pounds as the use of those bags was greatly reduced. Customers were bring their own bags. So, as I have always maintained, when a big company sees they save money by being green, that will be the incentive for 'green' action and the sustainability factor will be a by product. Either way the net result is good for all of us and for the planet.

I hope to be blogging more in the new year. There are lots of lovely new design products on the market now, the fashion industry is designing fashion that doesn't look like sackcloth, building greener is always on people's minds with new builds (the homeowners on Grand Designs nearly always incorproate a green/energy saving aspect) and everyone around is working harder to be green.... 

Have a merry and green Christmas and see you in the new year

Alexandra xx
Have a very merry Christmas

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