UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has agreed a deal with biogas plant developer Future Biogas for the purchase of 35,000 MWh of biomethane certificates, a move which will source the equivalent amount of energy to heat 15 M&S Simply Food stores all year round.

The gas will be produced at the Vulcan Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant near Doncaster (pictured) using break crops (non-commercial crops used for soil regeneration) from farms across Yorkshire and the North East. The gas is then pumped into the national grid.

M&S’s deal with Future Biogas funds the production and M&S benefits from the carbon reduction through the certification scheme, estimated at more than 6,400 tonnes annually. It also provides significant revenues for farmers, giving break crops a commercial route to market not previously available.

Gio Patellaro, M&S Head of Energy Supply & Risk said: ‘Over the past couple of years, M&S has worked tirelessly to improve its carbon efficiency and innovate in sustainability. As the first UK retailer to buy biomethane to use in this way, we are blazing a trail in the marketplace that we hope others will follow.’

The programme forms part of the company’s ‘Plan A’ launched in 2007.