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M&S and Oxfam to launch ‘M&S and Oxfam Clothes Exchange’ - UK’s biggest clothing recycling campaign


New initiative announced on first anniversary of M&S’ Plan A

Marks & Spencer and Oxfam have joined forces to launch the M&S and Oxfam Clothes Exchange, the biggest programme in the UK to encourage consumers to recycle their clothes. The Exchange is designed to both raise money for Oxfam’s work to tackle poverty and injustice and to reduce the one million tonnes(1) of clothing sent by the public to landfill in the UK each year. The announcement marks the first anniversary of Plan A, M&S’ ‘eco-plan’.

As part of the M&S and Oxfam Clothes Exchange, customers making a donation of M&S clothes to Oxfam will receive a voucher worth £5, valid for one month, to use with their next purchase of £35 or more on clothing, homeware or beauty products at M&S. The Exchange will be trialled for six months and reviewed on an ongoing basis, and from 28th January vouchers(2) will be given out in exchange for M&S clothes in Oxfam’s 790 stores across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Sir Stuart Rose, Chief Executive, Marks & Spencer said:
“We are pleased that we have teamed up with Oxfam, the UK’s biggest charity shop to help customers to raise money for developing countries by recycling their clothes they no longer need. It’s a triple win – it’s good for customers, good for people in developing countries and good for the environment.”

Barbara Stocking, Director, Oxfam said:
"This partnership is an enormous opportunity and Oxfam is very excited to be working with M&S to help make a real difference to global poverty.

“Recycling and reusing clothes - and anything else we can sell - has always been central to Oxfam’s fundraising, as well as being good for the environment. Through our unique textile sorting facility and the resourcefulness and skills of our specialist staff, Oxfam is able to make the most from all the clothes we receive. People’s unwanted clothes really will raise much needed money to help people living in poverty.”

Plan A anniversary
This announcement forms part of M&S’ first anniversary update on Plan A. Launched a year ago, Plan A sets-out M&S’ 100 ‘eco-targets’ for the next five years, including aiming to become carbon neutral and send no waste to landfill.

Commenting on the first 12 months of Plan A, Sir Stuart Rose said:

“We’ve made good progress on Plan A. We’ve a lot more to do, but we remain committed to delivering the goals we’ve set. More and more of our employees and suppliers see Plan A as a way of helping us all innovate and do things differently. For example, we originally began working with our suppliers to open three ‘eco’ factories. Now we have plans for several more, including our first in China.

“Our customers have also welcomed Plan A and we’re helping them to change their behaviour. Over a third now wash their clothes at a lower temperature in response to our ‘Wash at 30’ campaign and we’ve driven a 66% reduction in food carrier bag usage in Northern Ireland, where we’ve trialled charging for our carriers.”

A summary of Plan A highlights over the past 12 months can be found at It includes details on the following achievements:
# 31% of M&S customers now wash their clothes at a lower temperature in response to our ‘Wash at 30’ campaign, saving an estimated(3) 25,000 tonnes of CO2 p.a.;
# Plastic food carrier bag usage has reduced by 66% in our stores in Northern Ireland, where we’ve trialled charging for our carriers. Across our entire business we’ve seen an 11% reduction in customer usage of food carrier bags;
# C02 emissions reduced by 55,000 tonnes in M&S stores and offices by switching an additional 23% of electricity to renewable sources;
# 75% of construction waste from the M&S store refurbishment programme recycled;
# Sales of M&S’ organic and Fairtrade certified food grown by 48% and 20% respectively;
# In 2007 we purchased around one third of the world’s Fairtrade cotton and over 3m M&S garments sold; 500,000 made from organic cotton, linen or wool and over 200,000 garments made from recycled polyester using 2m recycled plastic bottles;
# Artificial colours removed from 99% of M&S food. On target to achieve 100% by Spring 2008;
# FSA’s 2010 salt targets met for 10 of our 15 priority categories, including ready meals and sandwiches. On course to meet all targets before 2010;
# 570 Plan A champions across M&S stores and offices appointed to help implement Plan A; 1,500 healthy eating assistants in M&S stores trained to advise our customers and employees on health issues.


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For further information for media, please call:
Marks & Spencer
Olivia Ross 0208 718 1618 / 07795 968 641
Clare Wilkes 0208 718 8642 / 07831 829 891
Clair Foster 020 8718 8323 / 07748 147 851

Rob McNeil 01865 472334 / 07909 860 370
Notes to editors:

M&S and Oxfam Clothes Exchange
# The M&S and Oxfam Clothes Exchange will raise more money for Oxfam to help people escape poverty around the world. This includes dealing with issues in more than 70 countries, ranging from campaigning against unfair trade rules that keep developing countries in poverty, to providing tools, seeds and skills to poor farmers. It also means helping vulnerable communities when disasters happen; supporting women’s rights in developing countries and working to tackle climate change and HIV and AIDS.
# Vouchers not issued for M&S intimate apparel (such as lingerie, underwear and swimwear), hosiery and socks that are donated to Oxfam.
# In the Republic of Ireland, M&S vouchers will be for €7 off €50 on M&S general merchandise.
# One M&S voucher distributed per donation.
# One M&S voucher can be used for each transaction in M&S for general merchandise products - clothing, home or beauty (not food).

Oxfam and textiles
# Oxfam is the only major charity to operate its own textile sorting facility, Wastesaver, which maximises revenue from textiles that cannot be re-sold in its shops and minimises the amount of textiles sent to landfill. The facility sorts clothing and resells it through a number of different routes, including:
• redistribution to Oxfam shops
• selling on the Oxfam online shop and at festivals
• to designers who restyle garments and reuse fabrics in their collections
• to textile wholesalers in the UK and overseas
• the low grade items not sold as clothing are sold in bulk to recycling traders where it is used, for example, as mattress filler, carpet underlay, upholstery and car sound insulation.
# M&S and Oxfam will also explore the possibility of taking materials that can’t be sold or recycled through traditional methods, such as embellished denim, and recycling it into cardboard boxes, for example, or back into denim clothing.


(1) Source: DEFRA 2006
(2) One voucher will be provided in return for donations containing at least one piece of M&S labelled clothing or a handbag, pair of shoes, belt, hat, pair of gloves or scarf.
(3) Energy Saving Trust


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