M&S

Why are we so against change?

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It seems that whatever we try to do in this country to ‘move forward’ we always come up against people who are ‘anti’. At the larger end of the scale it might be HS2 or wind farms off the coast, at the local level it could be new development – and this is the drive behind this blog….

Screen-Shot-2014-05-31-at-19.06.44-1024x457I live in West Bridgford, it is a very pleasant suburb of Nottingham and has been voted (as part of Rushcliffe) as one of the more desirable places to live in the UK – all good news so far. It also has a very busy and successful retail area based around Central Avenue. This area has seen significant changes in the last few years, a number of restaurants and bars have opened and it is now somewhere that attracts out of area dinners and drinkers. This is positive in my view as it brings money into the town.

There is however an element of the local (and not so local?) population who are quite vocal about not wanting change, this manifested itself most vocally a few years ago when M&S were looking to open in the town. Much was said against them, but they got planning and are now a well used and dare I say it popular addition (even from those anti initially?) to the town.

Moving forward a few years to today we have the issue of the two new retail units behind the Halifax on Central Avenue – a piece of almost invisible land which added nothing to the area, but was next to the croquet green (as the area of grass between Central Avenue and the car-park is known). The planning application for this has just been approved (quite rightly in my view). But it has caused huge bad feeling and comment – particularly from those who love the farmers market that uses the croquet lawn a couple of times a month.

All I would say to those opposed to the development is think long term, the market could move on and is in real terms a minor addition to the life of the town centre. Traders who take a formal lease on a shop unit are committing long term to the town and have a vested interest in its success. Yes, we potentially have an issue over tenant mix in the town (as most towns do) with too many charity shops and numerous coffee shops and the like. But who causes the demand for these operators? The market as a whole, in effect those who are against the development in the first place!

Perhaps it is time for the country as a whole to have a good hard look at itself and accept that we cause the changes in the market – so we can’t (and shouldn’t) complain when development occurs, especially when it is small and local as in the case of this one. Time to deal with our ‘not in my back yard’ issues……

Supermarkets – who are the good and bad environmentally ?

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Our Supermarkets have a huge hold over us in so many ways, so perhaps it’s not a bad place to start trying to be greener?

A number of them have been trying to tell us that they care for the environment – so who really does?

It takes more than bags to be green....

The Co-op and Marks & Spencer were this week named as the UK’s “greenest” supermarkets in a survey which rated retailers’ progress in areas such as sustainable and ethical sourcing.

Tesco, Asda and Netto were identified as the three worst performing companies – probably no surprise there!

The environmental and ethical performance of 19 of the country’s leading supermarkets and convenience stores were scrutinised in the survey, including detailed analysis of the companies’ corporate social responsibility reports.

The results reveal a clear divide between the top two performing supermarkets – the Co-op and M&S – and the other 17 companies.

Policies praised at these two major high street chains include the Co-op’s fish policy, whose goal is to operate its fish-sourcing policy in line with the aims and objectives of the Marine Stewardship Council. The Co-op also sources 98% renewable electricity in its 5,500 sites across the UK.

M&S was highly praised for its palm oil policies. It now stipulates the use of sustainable palm oil in many of its own-brand goods and is advised on the issue by WWF. M&S also scored well for its climate change policies which include a target of using non-crop derived biofuels in its fleet of vehicles.

If you’re lucky enough to live close to a local independent shop that has an ethical stocking policy then this ii my opinion is where you ought to shop. However the reality is that the vast majority of us now shop in supermarkets and therefore shoppers should choose either the Co-op or M&S if they value ‘green issues’.

These two companies have made genuine efforts to reduce the environmental and ethical impact of their operations and have demonstrated that they are setting the environmental agenda for supermarkets.

Now it is time for the others to follow and exceed these targets.