Marks & Spencer, which has been pushing forward fairtrade as a retailer of food, clothing and home products, has now started using food waste to power some of its stores.
The renewable electricity is being provided through an anaerobic digester in Shropshire, which is taking household food waste and converting it into electricity, reports Food Business Review.
The site is the first of two anaerobic digesters to supply to Marks & Spencer. The other anaerobic digester will be located on a farm by spring 2008 and will be fuelled by cow slurry and agricultural crops. Together, they will produce enough renewable electricity to power six Marks & Spencer Simply Food stores.
The company has also announced that it is extending its carrier bag charging trial to a further 33 stores in the South West of England following a successful 16-week period of charging five pence for food bags in its Northern Ireland stores, which has seen a reduction in customer use of carrier bags by 66%.
These announcements form part of the company's detailed update on Plan A, which sets out 100 eco-targets for the company for the next five years, including aiming to become carbon neutral and send no waste to landfill.
Stuart Rose, chief executive, said: "Plan A is driving change and innovation right across Marks & Spencer. For example, we are now the first major retailer to use food waste to power some of our stores. Customers are also seeing more and more changes, including our new 'eco' stores, increased fairtrade cotton ranges and more organic foods."