Marks and Spencer this week unveiled a new sustainability initiative that will eliminate food waste.
Set for 2025, the retailer aims to eliminate the waste of all edible surplus food from its shops through distribution to charities.
It also announced that it will provide grants to food redistribution charities to fund fridges and cool bags in order to keep food fresh during deliveries.
Working with social platform Neighbourly, the retailer hopes to provide 30,000 meals to homeless people living in poverty across 10 pilot areas.
Steve Rowe, chief executive of Marks and Spencer in conversation with the Evening Standard, said:
In too many places in the UK poverty is a real issue and we want to make sure people get support.
“We want schemes that are meaningful and substantial. We want to create a legacy to really improve communities.”
The move comes only 10 years after the publication of the first Plan A, where the grocer became the world’s first carbon-neutral major retailer while reducing carrier bag usage by 80 per cent.
Despite this, campaigners have announced their disappointment as the latest plan from the supermarket stops short of promising an independently verified living wage to UK workers or those involved in the supply chain.
In the UK the retailer pays shop-floor works just above the living wage, at £8.45, for workers outside London though not all workers are paid as highly as that.
Bill Owen, of the Living Wage Foundation, said:
We welcome any pay rise, but we would encourage M&S to accredit to the living wage scheme and to use that benchmark instead of creating their own.
“The public recognises that accreditation means agency workers such as cleaners and security staff are covered.”
M&S said that it will encourage franchise partners and direct supply chains to pay a living wage as defined by the retailer.