Sustainable retail in the UK ramps up as M&S expands self-packaging scheme

M&S follows Asda and Tesco in recent commitments to make food retail more sustainable, showing that sustainability is no longer a trend, but a necessity. Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket, discusses importance of sustainability and how retailers can adopt tech solutions to quickly reduce plastic and food waste

According to M&S, 25 of the 44 products available for self-packing outstripped their pre-packaged counterparts in sales, and the initiative was well-received by customers. The scheme will now be implemented in one of M&S’ Manchester city centre stores later this month, with more likely to follow.

M&S’ move to encourage more sustainable retail practices across more of it stores highlights a clear shift in the UK’s retail landscape towards sustainability as of late; some of Britain’s biggest retailers, including Asda and Tesco, have announced plans to cut down plastic waste in recent weeks, with Tesco removing plastic packaging from multipack tins and the launch of Asda’s “sustainability store”.

Will Broome, CEO and Founder of Ubamarket, understands the importance of sustainability better than most. Ubamarket are pioneers of mobile technology, helping traditional retailers to compete with e-commerce, and place a great deal of importance on enabling these retailers to improve their sustainability. Now, Will Broome comments on the development of sustainable retail in the UK and shares insight into how retailers can get ahead in working towards a more sustainable future:

“It’s extremely encouraging to see retailers such as M&S taking major steps towards creating a more sustainable future for the food retail sector, and retail across the board. Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword; it is quickly becoming a necessity for retailers wanting to prosper and develop into a more environmentally conscious society, as widespread consumer demand and threat of impending legislation suggest that there is no turning back.

Implementing mobile technology, such as that provided by Ubamarket, is one effective way for retailers to get ahead of the curve. Not only can it improve in-store efficiency and provide access to useful data for the retailer, but Ubamarket’s Plastic Alerts feature helps customers to shop more sustainably by allowing shoppers to scan packaging for information on whether it can be widely recycled or not. At the end of the shop, each customer is provided with a sustainability score, helping them to make more environmentally conscious choices in their daily or weekly shopping. 

It is my hope that we see more sustainability initiatives such as M&S’ fill-your-own container scheme in the coming weeks and months, but I am even more excited to see how retailer begin to implement the incredible solutions offered by technology.”