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M&S Commits to End Use of PFCs by 2016

Marks & Spencer has adopted stricter rules on the use of chemicals in its supply chain, including a commitment to end the use of all PFCs by July 2016.

The company worked with Greenpeace to develop new chemical commitments and strengthen its Environmental & Chemical Policy, standards that all dyehouses have to meet in order to work with M&S suppliers.

As part of its strengthened policy, Marks & Spencer will launch a training and education program for dyehouses on alkylphenol ethoxylates, which the company banned in 1998. M&S also will improve the management of perfluorinated chemicals in its supply chain and has said it will eliminate their use in under four years.

The company also will conduct a trial with five mills in China to assess the feasibility of publicly disclosing dyehouse chemical discharge data.

M&S says it will continue to work with universities, chemical manufacturers and dyehouses to develop ways to produce products with a lower impact on the environment. For example, the cold batch dyeing process, which is now being used in the company’s supply chain, uses on average 50 percent less water and reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent, M&S said.

In June, all Marks & Spencer-operated stores, offices, warehouse and delivery fleets in the UK were certified as carbon neutral, a goal reached by significantly cutting emissions and purchasing carbon offsets.

The company’s greenhouse gas emissions are down 22 percent or 158,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent since 2007, despite the company growing sales space by 18 percent over the same period. M&S was able to reduce emissions by cutting electricity use, reducing gas leaks from refrigeration units and improving fuel efficiency.

Marks & Spencer’s 2012 How We Do Business Report, which was released this week, outlines the first five years of progress of its Plan A program. Of the 180 environmental and ethical targets in Plan A, M&S has achieved 138 of them.

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