Marks & Spencer last week became the latest supermarket to tout its green credentials with the opening of its first "eco" store in Bournemouth.
The store, which is the first of four planned pilot stores to be re-fitted as part of the company’s high-profile £200m Plan A environmental sustainability initiative, will be powered using electricity from renewable sources and is expected to deliver energy savings of 25 per cent compared with before the refit.
The company said that overall carbon emissions at the 51,000 square foot store had been slashed by 92 per cent as a result of its green energy procurement policy and the installation of more energy efficient refrigerator, air con and lighting technologies.
It added that the deployment of new water saving technologies, such as dual flush toilets, would cut the store's water use by 15 per cent, while new construction policies had allowed 80 per cent of waste generated during the refit to be recycled or reused.
Furthermore, the store is to pioneer a new green travel plan for suppliers, staff and customers, including the provision of cycle racks and a notice board to highlight green travel opportunities.
The move was welcomed by Dax Lovegrove, head of business and industry relations at environmental charity WWF, which has been working with M&S on its Plan A initiative. "It's clear that M&S is tackling some of the toughest 'eco' challenges facing retailers," he said. "[For example], it is reducing green house gas emissions by using different types of fridges and encouraging alternative ways in which customers travel to and from stores."
The launch comes as rival retailer Sainsbury's last week announced it was to move its headquarters to a new green building development in Kings Cross, in a move designed to cut its energy bills and carbon emissions.
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