Neal’s Yard Remedies is to take its natural and organic health and beauty products mainstream with plans to nearly double the chain’s size by 2010. The 28-store chain, founded in Covent Garden, has spent a year testing four shop concepts and wants 50 sites by 2010.
Amazon US has launched a pilot project in Seattle called AmazonFresh, which is to trial the delivery of fresh food to a select group of invited clients. Customers can order eggs, fish, vegetables, meat and other perishable foods, delivered by a fleet of 12 vans. Amazon began delivering dried foods across America last year.
Marks & Spencer claims that work has started on what could be the world’s greenest bra factory. It is being built in Sri Lanka by MAS, using eco-friendly materials, and will make lingerie exclusively for M&S. The factory will open in 2008 and is part of the company’s £200mn plan to make its UK operations carbon-neutral by 2012.
New UK government plans could see millions of households across southern England have compulsory water meters installed in their houses, over the next three years. Some 12 companies in southern England have been labelled as areas of ‘serious water stress’ and will be allowed to consider metering for their 23mn customers in an attempt to conserve water, if they can convince Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, that the meters are essential. Consumer groups are worried that this system could leave poorer households with even less money, but water companies say that for the average family, metering has already reduced the annual water bill by £100. The ‘serious water stress’ status is based on rainfall, average use and availability and number of households, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said it will make the process of applying for compulsory metering simpler.
The Times reported on the launch of www.localfoodshop.com, a website which will allow hundreds of local producers to sell directly to customers on line. The website, which has funding from the Welsh Assembly, has been welcomed by the National Farmers’ Union as a means of making high-quality local produce more accessible.
The Guardian reported that Sainsbury, Asda and Tesco are all searching for directors of corporate social responsibility to lead their ‘green’ policy initiatives.
The UK Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is launching a series of initiatives to encourage the industry to be more environmentally friendly. It will supply DMA members with the quarterly publication Green Matters to advise them on issues to do with the environment, such as recycling. The magazine is advised by the Government’s Envirowise programme. The DMA says that more initiatives will follow, and adds that they are in response to consumer attitudes rather than pressure from the Government.
A report recently published shows an increase in annual spending on organically produced food, cosmetics and clothes to £2bn an increase of 20%. The report by the Soil Association will reveal that the popularity of organic products has extended from food to skin creams, lotions and shampoos. The organic cotton market is predicted to be valued at £60m this year. Asda aims to increase sales of organic food by 40% by stocking up to 1,000 green products by the end of the year.
The Daily Mail reports that Co-op is to be the first supermarket in the country to scrap shrink wrapping from its cucumbers. It is hoped that the move will save eight tons of plastic every year.