A factory in Derbyshire employing more than 400 people will be able to compete with the Far East and secure its future after it turned itself into an eco factory – halving its energy bill and saving millions in costs.


Marks & Spencer has awarded the factory in Belper, Derbyshire, with its Plan A eco-factory status.

Factory owner Courtaulds – which supplies a third of the 180 pairs of tights that M&S sells a minute – invested more than £2m in improving its West Mill factory. It is the first UK clothing factory to receive the M&S award, following the roll-out from M&S's eco model factories in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

M&S said it is supporting UK manufacture in specialist areas. Making tights is skilled work.

Jonny Mitchell, the managing director of Courtaulds legwear, said the factory's changes, such as reduced energy and water consumption, have given it an "edge again to be able to compete with the Far East".

Courtaulds has been supplying M&S with hosiery for more than 30 years. The retailer has a 28 per cent share of the British hosiery market. With an average product turnaround time of 3.5 weeks, a UK-based factory can respond to fast-moving fashion trends.

By Laura Chesters


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Comment by Veganline.com on August 31, 2013 at 11:08

FJ Bamkin and Son, a large UK sock factory, was closed by administrators yesterday, in part bacause high housing costs in the area make it easier to sell-up than wait a long time for a sock factory buyer.

If anyone wants to buy the machines and preferably make things in the UK, please get in touch with Begbies Traynor accountants and ask when the auction will be. If the web site for the factory stays-up, it is http://pennine-bamkin.co.uk/home.html.

Sadly, the closure with a loss of the last 45 jobs comes only a day after Estethica and London Fashion Week declared how they will subsidise UK fashion from taxpayers' money this year. Few of the successful applicants even bothered to mention where their products were made, unless outside the UK. I think that the people who run London Fashion Week and fund it are quite directly responsible for the loss of those 45 jobs and public services that the firms' taxes would have paid. Presumably, London Fashion Week is not going to be cut as a result.

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