Marks and Spencer commits to ethical trading

By James Knowles

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Renewable energy, Supermarket

Marks and Spencer is the latest British supermarket out to catch
the ethical shopper, this week announcing a new £200m (€304)
eco-plan, including a change to sustainable packaging.

The British supermarket's 100 point plan involves reducing the use of packaging by 25 per cent, switching to renewable sources of packaging including cardboard, metal, glass and plastic. In store coffee house Café Revives will trial 'closed loop' recycling where all waste will be recycled into Marks and Spencer packaging.

The food retailer is reacting to a changing client base that is demanding fresh healthy ethically grown, sourced and packaged goods. Just this week Prince Charles invited Lee Scott, head of Wal-Mart, the worlds largest retailer, to come and speak to British supermarkets on how to be more environmentally responsible.

Wal-Mart itself announced plans to become more environmentally friendly in 2005 promising an investment of £250m a year to reduce waste, and switching to renewable power sources and eco-friendly products.

Trend spotters at the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) predicted recently that ethical products will be a key trend in 2007.

Marks and Spencer also plans to work more closely with British farmers to reduce the amount of food that it needs to have imported, saving on air miles.

"We will clearly label the food we import by air; UK regional and local food sourcing will be a priority and we will trial the use of food waste to power our stores,"​ said Marks and Spencer Chief Executive Stuart Rose.

In a similar move last week Morrisons switched to compostable packaging for its organic fresh produce range.

Morrisons trays are now made of sugar cane fibre, flow wrap films and bag sealing tape are now made from wood pulp and bags are produced from GM free starch. All of which degrade in 6-24 months. Alistair Hall, purchasing manager said that this was just the beginning.

"Initially introduced on nine key lines, Morrisons is planning to extend compostable packaging to other organic and non organic lines as part of its commitment to find ways of reducing packaging waste,"​ he said.

The new packaging will stop 27 tonnes of packaging and four and a half tones of fibre going into landfills every year.

Morrisons packaging is identified with a seedling logo and compostability accreditation standard.

Related topics: Market Trends

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