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Marks & Spencer launches clothes exchange programme in India

Story: BHARATI | PAWASKAR | 25th December 2017, 02:38 Hrs


It's Christmas and time for giving and forgiving. An innovative way of spreading the magic of giving and receiving is brought by Marks & Spencer (M&S) to India, just a week before Christmas and this initiative has been welcomed by the customers.
After M&S announced the launch of its Clothes Exchange Programme in India in association with the social enterprise ‘Goonj' to encourage customers to recycle their clothes and help them live more sustainable lifestyles, the iconic British retailer is getting overwhelming response from enthusiastic customers.
The customers have been visiting the stores to drop off their old clothes and receive a M&S voucher of Rs 600 in exchange. After the pilot programme conducted at three stores in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, the clients requested the company to start it in other stores too.
Believing that old clothes should have a future and that they should be put together for a good cause and not just thrown out, M&S is asking customers to bring in their used clothing of any brand to their stores across India. In exchange, the customers will receive an M&S voucher worth Rs 600 for their contribution. It doesn't depend on the weight of clothes and the customers will receive a voucher even if they choose to ​give away just one piece. The programme will run across 39 stores in India including their store at Mall de Goa at Porvorim.
The clothes exchange is designed to reduce the tens of millions of tonnes of clothing sent by the public to landfill around the world each year. According to the company all the clothes contributed will be reused and recycled by Goonj and not a single item will go to landfill.
"We are delighted to bring our clothes exchange programme to India," states James Munson, managing director, Marks & Spencer, India. Apart from India the M&S clothes exchange has been implemented in UK, Hong Kong and Hungary. Munson further added that the company recently launched their bold, new sustainability plan, Plan A 2025 to tackle social and environmental factors of importance in India and the clothes exchange is one of their key initiatives.
India is M&S's first pilot market to build Plan A locally with a dedicated in-house team and committee that goes across different divisions of the business. Plan A India 2025 spans transforming lives and communities, caring for the planet and customers and colleagues' wellbeing.
"Clothes exchange makes it really easy for customers to participate and play their part in reducing the waste that goes to landfill and protecting the environment for generations to come," Munson shared.
Speaking on the tie-up, Anshu Gupta, founder, Goonj hoped that people see this as an opportunity to easily connect with development work across rural India. "For us the focus will be on ensuring that every unit of clothing is put to optimum use. Through our ‘Cloth for Work' initiative, we will be using it as a reward to rural communities, who also put in their efforts, wisdom and resources in solving their problems across far flung villages of India," said Gupta.
The head of Sustainability at Marks & Spencer, India T G Ganesh shares, "At M&S, one of our key Plan A 2025 commitments is to send zero waste to landfill and through our association with Goonj, we can bring this dream alive. We are proud to be associated with Goonj, an award winning social enterprise that focuses on helping underprivileged people. We believe that we can make a huge difference with our customers by helping them feel good by this small incentive."
The clothes exchange campaign in India builds on Marks & Spencer's Global Plan A initiative. Globally, 29 million items of clothing worth an estimated Rs164 crore has been raised for charity through their customer clothes recycling schemes across the business since 2008.

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