Sustainability in Retail Design

Design Clarity is interested in the actions being undertaken by retailers in the sustainability effort. Are the actions in place to make a significant and lasting impact or a token to appeal to a consumer’s positioning on the brand?

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has implemented the Plan A Scheme with the intention of making themselves the world’s most sustainable retailer. The scheme involves 100 individual commitments ranging from extending its ethical trading assessments of suppliers to enabling donations of unwanted clothing under the ‘shwopping’ initiative with the aim to recycle one garment for every one sold.

Plan A is embedded in company communication: newsletters, posters, packaging and display to ensure sustainability principles are integrated in to day-to-day thinking and operations. M&S claims that over 5 million customers have taken part in Plan A activities, such as shwopping and the Big Beach Clean-up. 31% of M&S products (by volume) now have a Plan A attribute such as Fairtrade, Organic or made from recycled material. In fact, last year 4.5 million garments were sold that made using Fairtrade certified cotton and we’ve increased sales of Fairtrade food by 88% since 2006/07.