2012 saw some real innovations arrive in M&S stores. Re-using and recycling are key principles of Plan A, and the World's Most Sustainable Suit is one such innovation. M&S also launched its Shwopping campaign to encourage customers to recycle their unwanted clothing by using Shwop Drops in stores.
The M&S suit took several years to develop. Every part of the suit, from the buttons to the lining, was carefully sourced to produce one of the greenest garments ever made. M&S also added a 'QR' code to the suit label which can be scanned using a mobile phone so customers can download information on the suit and the materials it's made from. The different elements of the suit include:
- Wool - the suit is made from organic wool, which can be traced back to the farms where it was produced. In addition, all of the chemicals used in the production of the wool fibre are Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) approved, to reflect the fact that the fibre has been organically produced.
- Lining - made from recycled plastic bottles.
- Canvas (used inside the main body of the suit) made from recycled polyester.
- Buttons - reclaimed buttons.
- Pockets and waistband - made from reclaimed fabric.
- Labels - all of the labels inside the suit, even the 'Care Instructions', have been made from recycled polyester.
Mark Sumner, M&S Plan A Sustainable Raw Material Expert, said in a Press Release:
This a huge step forwards for the industry;
it is the first time such an intricate garment has been made of sustainable materials, and as well as being one of the greenest garments available on the high street, it is incredibly stylish and something we hope our customers will be proud to wear. We set ourselves a big challenge with a suit as it contains so many different elements that we had to consider, but as part of our Plan A objectives we are determined to ensure all of the products we sell not only look great but are sustainably sourced. The suit is the perfect example - it is very stylish, of the highest quality, sustainably made - and all for under £350'.
Canvas - a closely woven heavy cloth of cotton
Polyester - a man-made fabric made from polymer (a type of plastic)
Sustainable - renewable; able to be sustained for an indefinite period without damaging the environment
Intricate - having many complicated parts
Garment - item of clothing
Recycled - to alter or adapt for new use