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M&S's Bold Initiative: £1 Million Investment Targets Reduction of Methane Emissions by Dairy Cows

In a bold eco-conscious move, Marks & Spencer (M&S) has unveiled plans to allocate a fresh infusion of £1 million towards revolutionizing the dietary regimen of pasture-grazed dairy cattle within its expansive supply chain. This strategic initiative is poised to mitigate methane emissions by a staggering 11,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually, underscoring M&S's unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship.

Collaborating closely with all 40 M&S Select Dairy Farmers constituting its esteemed pool of milk suppliers, this pioneering endeavor is anticipated to yield a substantial 8.4 percent reduction in the carbon footprint associated with M&S's RSPCA-assured fresh milk.

The announcement marks yet another milestone in M&S's ongoing sustainability journey, following its prior investments in an exclusive green fertiliser initiative across all M&S Select Dairy Farms. Moreover, the launch of the Pathway Farming partnership with select M&S Select Beef Farmers underscores the retailer's proactive stance in identifying and capitalizing on opportunities to curtail carbon emissions stemming from beef rearing practices.

This forward-looking initiative not only aligns with M&S's ambitious sustainability agenda but also resonates with the broader national imperative outlined in the government's net zero growth strategy. Anticipating the advent of "high-efficacy methane-suppressing products" set to hit the market by 2025, M&S's proactive measures position it at the vanguard of sustainable agricultural practices.

Globally, the livestock sector accounts for a substantial 14 percent of human-induced climate emissions, with methane emissions from cattle burps and manure constituting a notable contributor to this environmental challenge. Despite its shorter atmospheric lifespan compared to CO2, methane's potency in exacerbating global warming over a 20-year horizon underscores the urgency of addressing this issue.

In tandem with its efforts to combat methane emissions, M&S has unveiled a slew of transformative investments underpinned by its Plan A Accelerator Fund. One notable initiative involves soliciting customer donations of "unwearable" clothing to Oxfam, thereby facilitating fibre-to-fibre recycling and ushering in a circular economy paradigm.

Furthermore, the integration of AI technology to optimize heating, ventilation, and air conditioning controls across select M&S stores represents another innovative endeavor aimed at reducing energy consumption and emissions by an estimated 30 percent. This pilot program, spanning six stores initially, is poised to unlock substantial cost savings and environmental benefits.

Looking ahead, M&S remains steadfast in its pursuit of pioneering sustainability solutions, with forthcoming Plan A projects poised to explore diverse avenues such as green hydrogen production, pasteurisation utilizing renewable energy sources, and leveraging polytag technology to enhance plastic recycling efforts.

Moreover, M&S is poised to harness cutting-edge agricultural technologies to cultivate net-zero-emission root crops, leveraging a multifaceted approach encompassing minimum tillage practices, low-carbon fertilisers, and autonomous farm machinery.

"I talk a lot about the 'magic of M&S' - and a key part of this is our commitment to innovation," said M&S CEO Stuart Machin. "It's in our DNA and, along with our unique model of own brand, long term supplier partnerships, it's how we deliver the quality and trust our customers expect from us.

"By turning our obsession with innovation towards climate change and tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit of our suppliers we can turbo charge our drive to be a Net Zero business across all our operations and entire supply chain by 2040.

"I'm excited by the big difference these small changes could make to some of the toughest climate challenges we face." 

This multifaceted approach underscores M&S's unwavering commitment to driving transformative change across its operations, exemplifying its resolute dedication to fostering a more sustainable and resilient future for generations to come.



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