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O tempora, O mores, O M&S

An announcement in Business Green

M and S, why do you do it?   Are you believing that you are saving the planet, or merely encouraging your green customers to think how wonderful you are?  Why are you involving children? (Don't answer that, I already know the answer).

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Reader Comments (34)

M&S used to make good quality, timeless clothes that shoppers were happy to pay extra for in the knowledge they'd be worn for many years to come. Now M&S loses money and wastes energy on tatty clothes for teenagers and stick thin models who wouldn't be seen dead in M&S, let alone M&S clothes. It's a pity the drive towards greeness doesn't extend to an area most people would support - product life.

Oct 19, 2015 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Any sort of grant from a big retailer to a small local institution builds a tremendous amount of local goodwill. And these grants are targeted (for better or worse) in such a way that the result of the installation funded by the grant will is likely to be lower ongoing operating costs for the group's physical facilities, for as long as the distorting artificial feed-in prices are sustained.
I've written grant proposals for energy projects, on the theory that if someone is giving away money and we have a need that can be dressed up to fulfill the granting organizations funding criteria, we should go for it. I'm a little less happy with friends whose organizations have started to prefer to "leverage" their donation income by using it to fund grantwriting and lobbying, only taking on projects for which government money is available.

...the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money unclaimed

Oct 19, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas2

M&S are just the tip of the iceberg lettuce, every child I see on TV doing well in some engineering project, when asked what they want to do in life, replies "work in renewable energy". The indoctrination in schools and universities has been a great "success".

Oct 19, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Hey Mikky,
Window cleaning is a noble profession with a long heritage.
Expanding it to solar panel cleaning is a realistic ambition for those children.

Oct 19, 2015 at 2:50 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Come to think of it, ist't it curious that of all the green pressures and demands of business, the one thing I've never heard mentioned is durability? It would cost almost nothing to implement and require no more resources.

Oct 19, 2015 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

M Courtney, tee hee.

Oct 19, 2015 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I am a bit younger than Jeremy Paxman, but worked out before him that M&S pants, match their Directors, and fail to fulfil some basic functional criteria.

Oct 19, 2015 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Do not despair!

When these "community" renewables schemes go tits up, as they invariably do, it will be a salutary learning curve for the kids in the efficacy of renewable energy.

Oct 19, 2015 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered Commentermarchesarosa

Just stick to selling knickers, ffs!
Why do businesses get involved in things they have no expertise in?

Oct 19, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"including former Secretary of State for Energy Ed Davey"

Will nobody rid us of the moon-faced twit..?

Oct 19, 2015 at 3:16 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

i buu only swiss meringue at m&s

all the rrest has worms in it

do you know you can make swiss meringue yourself?
its made from eggwhite but you can use snot that works as well

if you have the flue you can call it green swiss meringue, and invite your vegan neighbours?

Oct 19, 2015 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2

M&S has been well and truly infiltrated by the Greenblob. The last time I looked, one of the "charities" supported by M&S when you cough up 5p for one of their bags is WWF. I always ask the staff why M&S supports a corrupt charity.

Oct 19, 2015 at 3:45 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

That's it, another retailer I will not be buying any of their products in the future.

Over the last 5 years I have been refusing to buy any product from any retailer that goes on about climate change. Vote with your feet, let them know how sad they are.

Oct 19, 2015 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

If M&S had £400, 000 to give away, why not just spend it on a few high profile public projects, so that everyone could see how pointless solar and wind Unreliable electricity is, and their customer's children would avoid wasting their education?
Brainwashing impressionable children to believe in their right to be a failure, maybe fine for adult Green failures, but most cultures would see it as abuse of children's innocence.

Supporting a hydrotherapy pool is very commendable, but how often can you run pool heating, pumps and filtration equipment with solar anywhere in the world, let alone the UK?

Oct 19, 2015 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


Plan A Because There's No Plan B

On the Green bandwagon because it makes good business sense, not sure about the drop in quality of the clothes though. M&S spent a lot of time and effort in ensuring no wagons were sent anywhere empty, adopted trailers which were more aerodynamic and changed how they filled them to cope with the shape. When your lorries travel huge distances every year a 1-2% fuel saving is worth it. I imagine they've signed up for the free government (our) money scheme to use diesel generators in times of high demand on the grid.

Plan A 2020

Oct 19, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

What fascinates me about large solar panel projects IS the need to keep all those panels clean, or in the case of the focusing mirrors in those solar projects that use steam to generate electricity, it's even more critical. I understand that the large focusing projects literally use 100s of thousands of gallons of water to keep the mirrors clean. Since they are usually placed in desert regions for the purpose of utilizing the high number of sunny days, there is usually a water shortage to start with. It amazes me that people have no clear ability to think anymore when it comes to "renewable energy sources," with the clear exception of the only one that works - hydro. These they can block because of some real or imagined change in downstream habitats.

Oct 19, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom O

From the article:

Nineteen regional vote-winners will receive up to £12,500 from the money pot, while two projects won national prizes: Hartlepool Community Solar for Schools won £40,000 to support its efforts to supply 37 schools and colleges in Hartlepool with solar energy, while Berkshire-based youth charity Just Around the Corner won the £20,000 prize to install solar panels on its activity site and stables.

Is anyone struck by how *mean* these sums are? Given the size of the buildings, £12.5K wouldn't go far at all. And £40K for 37 schools/colleges... peanuts.

Oct 19, 2015 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Why they do it is obvious: it makes very good business sense. It really doesn't matter if they are saving the planet or not, or if their schemes are or aren't very beneficial to the environment.

The company, like many other retailers, has identified a powerful driver for their customers. A very significant number of M&S customers want to purchase from an "ethical" and "sustainable" retailer. What the customer wants the customer by and large gets and the supplier benefits from either increased or as a minimum a lower decrease in market share.

The business case made in M&S for Plan A will have shown a healthy surplus, or it would not have been implemented

Oct 19, 2015 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

Good points.
I have been wondering for some time why us realists do not "crowd source" that great old Irish invention of the Boycott.
Surely there are enough of us to hit these idiotic greenie corporations where it hurts.
For my part I have Boycotted the Catholic Church until such time as we get a Catholic Pope.
I endeavour not to use M&S, Google, Tesco, Virgin, Hewlitt Packard, Apple, Microsoft among others.
I was wondering could someone on here, much smarter than me, come up with a list and a method of organising a Boycott of goods and services which are tied in to the great Mann Made Global Warming scam.
Just a thought.

Oct 19, 2015 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterwaterside4

Unfortunately most large brands have to pay this modern day Danegeld to the Green Blob. Most know that the vociferous lefties green lobby can quickly and effectively damage a brand's reputation by howling and shrieking about them being evil, big business. I know that many executives at M&S know that this sort of thing is just bullshit, but that it's actually cheaper to spunk £400k on a virtuous green PR stunt than be damaged by the social media harpies on the left.

Oct 19, 2015 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterScooper

Interesting that all the comments on the original article are hostile. And that's in Business Green.

I think Ed Davey's involvement had something to do with that.

Oct 19, 2015 at 6:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

I have been wondering for some time why us realists do not "crowd source" that great old Irish invention of the Boycott.
Surely there are enough of us to hit these idiotic greenie corporations where it hurts.
Oct 19, 2015 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterwaterside4

waterside4, relax a bit.
The invisible hand of the Scot, Adam Smith, is always pulling hard and inexorably on their goolies. When subsidies are withdrawn, they will sink beneath the waves.

By way of an analogy, the major supermarkets, and almost all of their customers, know that the ill-defined "organic produce" is there as a loss-leader to bring in the customers who are trying to assuage their green guilt. Unless such organic produce is made the only legal food, it will never replace that which is produced by farming methods which work more efficiently and economically.

Oct 19, 2015 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Whilst we're on the topic of M&S....since the new plastic bag policy came in, my direct experience of M&S has been that they now intend to purposefully aggravate customers who don't share their vision. Three separate M&S stores visited in the last couple of weeks have no bags whatsoever in the self-service section along with no member of staff there to assist. Luckily I'm often equipped with a backpack or similar and a handful of plastic bags (always handy). Others aren't so lucky. Today I decided to visit the new M&S foodhall that has opened near us - the people either side of me in the self service section had about a dozen items in their basket, no bags, and were looking around helplessly.

Oct 19, 2015 at 9:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterDWeston

@SandyS Oct 19, 2015 at 4:22 PM

M&S spent a lot of time and effort in ensuring no wagons were sent anywhere empty

Very true. Until Tesco, etc expanded into Ulster, M&S were the only large GB retailer selling Potato and Soda bread (Ormeau brand). Every M&S arctic that crossed by RoRo ferry and delivered to their Ulster stores returned filled with them and it sold out within hours of hitting the shelves.

Oct 19, 2015 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

Reusable plastic bags. I regularly do minor shopping whilst out in the car doing other stuff. I found the free polythene bags useful for putting sandwich wrappers etc in to put into a bin.

I have now decided to buy some of the supermarkets stronger bags, so I always have some in the car, on the basis that whichever supermarket I go into, I will always be able to display proudly the bag and logo of one of their rivals.

I have bought some cheap disposable pedal bin liners to keep in the car, for convenient disposal of rubbish.

This is progress! I expect the number of empty drink cans, sandwich wrappers etc to be disposed of out of the window of a moving car to increase, with extra costs met by local authorities

Oct 19, 2015 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Almost as funny as their rude Christmas advert;

Computer generated apparently, rather like climate models!

Oct 19, 2015 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterHot under the collar

Sandy S

Re. Marks 'n' Sparks trailers
What they don't point out is the trailers hold less, are far more difficult to load and just because something appears more aerodynamic it ain't necessarily so.

Oct 19, 2015 at 11:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

Roger Tolson, appearing Green and efficient, is more important than any possible savings. It is the same as having a hybrid car with badges to let all other drivers know how good you are, but using the engine all the time apart from when your neighbours or work colleagues might hear it.

Battery only cars should be banned from doing less than 55mph on the motorway or dual carriageway, as truckers are forced to overtake, and slow down all other traffic.

Oct 20, 2015 at 12:37 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

In Australia we have a firm offering green funerals. They advertise that a coffin takes a few minutes to burn an oak tree that took many years to grow. "A green funeral will not cost the earth."
I never did like toadies, simpering wimps who would say anything to gain my friendship which did not come cheaply to sycophants.

Oct 20, 2015 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

In Dundee ,once home of the British industry there is a still a jute firm that makes coffin board from jute and incidentally also makes jute shrouds.

There is also an anecdote that the manager In Calcutta had a brilliant (but temporary) idea for making the jute coffin boards fireproof......

Oct 21, 2015 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

One way in which they could really improve the environment is to turn off the cr"""y pop music they have playing in most of their stores!!! - but then that reflect their current culture.

Oct 21, 2015 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterCrowcatcher


In another life the Ormeau Bakery was a customer of my employer - and I of them. I remember being introduced to the delights of potato bread and soda bread over my first breakfast in Ulster at the Crawfordsburn Inn, and I was immediately sold.

Oct 21, 2015 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

@It doesn't add up...


In another life the Ormeau Bakery was a customer of my employer - and I of them. I remember being introduced to the delights of potato bread and soda bread over my first breakfast in Ulster at the Crawfordsburn Inn, and I was immediately sold.

Crawfordsburn Inn was where my parents had their wedding reception. Had afternoon tea there many times when younger and cycled with friends to Crawfordsburn Country Park with dog & picnic in saddle bag many times - happy memories. Also sad memories - family had "wake" meal following post funeral wake in a High St. Bangor restaurant for my (late) father.

Ulster Fry - delicious for breakfast, lunch, dinner and post-pub-nosh.

On Topic: Crawfordsburn Inn often used bio-mass with no subsidies for heating and hot-water as did many other Ulster homes and businesses. It was called logs (cut up trees). Timber yards (eg the one in Central Ave, Bangor) gave away and/or sold waste bio-mass which was used to help light fires, they were called sticks and sawdust. Peat was also used - lovely smell.

Oct 22, 2015 at 12:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterPcar


Our local hospital has c===y music playing in the medical practices' waiting area. Even more annoying when you sit opposite a notice saying "please keep the noise down and respect other people waiting" or something like that. Three complaints put in by me so far, to no effect.....

Oct 22, 2015 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

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