Marks & Spencer Encourages Biking or Walking to its Stores

British retailer’s sustainable initiative might help ease congestion during the London Olympics.


British retailer Marks & Spencer has made clear it wants to be the world’s most ecologically friendly major company ever since launching its sustainability program, Plan A, five years ago. Its latest initiative: sending recycled clothes to Oxfam (which M&S calls shwopping). The chain is also encouraging a movement among the wider public. It’s one of the major supporters of “re:route,” a new mobile telephone application that rewards travelers for biking or walking instead of taking the Tube or settling into the backseat of a hackney carriage. Launched last month, the app allows users to earn points for their heart-healthier journeys by redeeming them at locations around London, including, of course, M&S. Re:route was created by New York–based environmental waste management company Recyclebank at the request of the colorful mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

The initiative that encourages more biking and walking comes just in time for the London Olympics, which start in July. London is expecting a strong turnout but may not have a sufficient transportation system to meet everyone’s needs. So the idea is that the program will help reduce congestion.