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M&S, Ford Mark Progress with Latest Sustainability Reports

Marks & Spencer (M&S) now recycles 100 percent of its waste with nothing going to landfill, according to the company’s latest sustainability report, which provides an update on the first five years of the company’s comprehensive sustainability program.

The program, called Plan A, includes 180 environmental and ethical commitments. Of these, M&S says 138 have been achieved, 30 are “on plan,” six are “behind plan” and six have not been achieved.

M&S says that 31 percent of its products now have a Plan A attribute such as free range, made at an eco factory or made from recycled material. This adds up to almost a billion individual items sold every year at a retail value of £3 billion. The target is to raise this to 50 per cent by 2015 and 100 per cent by 2020.

Additional highlights from the report include:

  • M&S intends to source 50 percent of its cotton from sustainable sources by 2020 including Fairtrade, recycled, organic and BCI (Better Cotton Initiative)
  • 5,000 people who face barriers to the workplace (for example people with a disability) have now completed Marks & Start work placements, with 40 percent going on to full time employment;
  • Sales of Fairtrade food at M&S have increased by 88 percent since 2007
  • M&S collected 147 million clothes hangers for re-use and recycle last year;
  • M&S has become 28 percent more energy efficient per square foot and 100 percent of the energy M&S buys directly is now from a ‘green' tariff, including 15 percent from small scale generators;
  • M&S has saved 1.7 billion single-use shopping bags in five years, and reduced packaging weight by 26 percent
  • All wild fish products come from sustainable sources
  • 257 M&S products are now made using certified sustainable palm oil.

Earlier this year M&S launched a new initiative encouraging shoppers to donate an unwanted item of clothing to be re-used, re-sold or recycled by Oxfam every time they buy a new one. The full report is available here.

Ford announced a goal to reduce by 25 percent the amount of energy it uses to produce a vehicle by 2016. The reduction is on top of 22 percent already achieved over the last 6 years.

This is Ford’s 13th annual Sustainability Report. New this year are sections highlighting Ford’s regional sustainability initiatives in Europe, South America and Asia, and commentary from third-party subject matter experts like Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri.

The amount of electricity used to produce each vehicle in Ford’s manufacturing facilities has been reduced by about 800 kilowatt-hours – from 3,576 kwh in 2006 to 2,778 kwh in 2011. By comparison, average households in states like California, New York, Illinois and Michigan use between 562 kwh and 799 kwh monthly.

Ford says the progress has been achieved by investing in energy-saving practices and equipment. At Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., for example, the company uses a new “three-wet” paint application that reduces electricity use along with CO2 and Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions.

In addition to its commitment to further reducing energy consumption, Ford also:

  • Reduced the total amount of waste sent to landfills globally by 11.3 percent from 2010 to 2011 and plans to further reduce its waste to landfill by 10 percent per vehicle this year.
  • Reduced CO2 emissions from global operations in 2011 by 8 percent on a per-vehicle basis compared with 2010
  • Reduced water use to 4.7 cubic meters per vehicle in 2011 within a corporate goal of reducing the amount of water used per vehicle by 30 percent between 2009 and 2015

Ford vehicles continue to be a major focal point of the company’s efforts to reduce environmental impact. For example, the seat fabric in most of Ford’s new or redesigned vehicles must now consist of at least 25 percent post-industrial or post-consumer recycled content. A total of 37 fabrics now meet the requirements and have been incorporated into Ford vehicles. Other highlights include:

  • A seat fabric containing a fiber made from recycled plastic water bottles is being used in the Focus Electric, Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi
  • Post-consumer recycled nylon is used in some underhood parts, including air cleaner housings, engine fans, fan shrouds, HVAC temperature valves, engine covers, cam covers and carbon canisters
  • Nearly 4.1 million pounds of carpet has been recycled into cylinder head covers, the equivalent of a carpet the size of more than 150 football fields – eliminating the use of more than 430,000 gallons of oil

Beginning this fall, car shoppers will be able to purchase Auto Stop-Start as an optional gas-saving feature on the Ford Fusion

Bart King is a PR/marketing communications consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.


Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also an associate editor for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_kingGoogle+

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