M&S signs huge renewables contract

Marks and Spencer has signed a six-year deal with RWE Npower to buy 2.6 terawatt-hours of electricity from renewable sources. A significant amount of the supply will be bought from independent small-scale generators. M&S claims the contract is the biggest by a retailer.

The company says the deal is a major step towards its goal of using 100% renewable electricity for all its offices and stores and becoming carbon neutral (ENDS Report 384, pp 5-6 ).

But it is no longer allowed to claim greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the contract after the Environment Department (DEFRA) revised its voluntary reporting guidelines to prevent double-counting of emission cuts (ENDS Report 402, p 4 ).

Mike Barry, M&S head of corporate social responsibility, said that as a result of the change it will report its carbon emissions in two ways: counting emissions from purchased electricity as ‘grid average’ as recommended by the new guidelines, and as zero carbon under the old guidelines.

Mr Barry said an important benefit of its contract is to support renewable electricity, especially small-scale producers. But energy regulator Ofgem says the real driver of increases in renewables capacity are the ambitious targets in the renewable energy strategy (ENDS Report 402, pp 38-39 ).

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