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December 15, 2021

M&S signs GBP850m credit facility to meet green goals

UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has signed a new GBP850m (US$1.13m) revolving credit facility linked to its Plan A Net Zero Targets.

By Hannah Abdulla

Marks & Spencer (M&S) announced the reset Plan A Programme in September in which it committed to enhancing its green efforts through slashing its carbon footprint by a third by 2025.

It set out a detailed roadmap to net zero using science-based targets aligned to the UN ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The target would see M&S achieve full net zero ten years ahead of the government’s UK-wide strategy and will require rapid decarbonisation of its business to cut its carbon footprint by a third by 2025, from a 5.7m tonne 2017 baseline.

The retailer launched Plan A in 2007 and claims to have been the first major retailer to reach carbon neutral status in 2012. With the scale of the climate challenge bigger and more urgent than ever before, M&S CEO Steve Rowe has written to its global supplier base and hosted a business-wide event to rally its 70,000 colleagues behind plans to put a green future at the heart of its transformation strategy.

“This is not a far-away promise; we must act now to rapidly cut our footprint,” he said. “To deliver this, we need our colleagues to better understand the carbon impact of our products and processes, we need to back our suppliers to innovate and adapt to the changing environment and we must work together to help customers enjoy lower carbon lives.”

In a stock exchange disclosure this morning (15 December), M&S said the new credit facility is linked to the delivery of its net zero scope 3 target by 2040.

Under the terms of its new credit facility, M&S will benefit from a lower interest rate if it delivers targets aligned to its net zero roadmap. The designated metrics span the M&S value supply chain to support its scope 3 net zero goal.

The terms of the new Revolving Credit Facility run until June 2025 and replace the existing facility, which was due to mature in April 2023.

A number of brands have made similar moves in recent months, with German luxury fashion brand Hugo Boss recently taking out a revolving syndicated loan with a sustainability focus for the first time.

The John Lewis Partnership signed a GBP420m (US$573.6m) five-year revolving credit facility linked to environmental targets last month, while British lifestyle brand Joules also extended and converted its current credit facility with Barclays Bank to an ESG-linked financing arrangement in May.

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