18 May, 2015

It’s what fashion should be – eclectic and exciting.

“My name’s Lauren, I work in Womenswear Product PR and I love cashmere sweaters and Percy Pigs.

“I’ve always admired the M&S brand – it’s such an icon of the British high street. I’d heard they’re great with their employees too, so I leapt at the chance of an entry-level opportunity in the fashion PR team. I love the variety of the job; no two days are the same. One day we could be launching a collection at a hot new hotel or shooting the next seasons look book; the next it could be working on a photo call with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

“Building strong relationships with the fashion press is a big part of my role. This helps me to secure the coverage we need across print, digital and broadcast media. It means acting as an ambassador for the brand. This makes for a very busy, exciting and eclectic role – and that’s why I love it.

“Every week is different, I love the creative buzz of being involved in a shoot or a press day but on a ‘normal’ week I love Tuesday mornings; we receive all the weekly magazines first thing and go through them looking for any M&S coverage in the fashion pages. It’s a great way to see if we’ve been doing a good job.

“The qualities you need to work here, I’d say, are organisation skills and relentless enthusiasm. My Dad has always inspired me he with his work ethic. He owns his own business so has always given 100% to everything he does; he taught me to be proactive and hardworking; you can’t wait for opportunities to come to you.”

Inside M&S
6 May, 2015

Cleaning Up Britain's Beaches

Ahead of the 2015 Big Beach Clean Up (7 - 13 May), we're revisiting last years event, and Sam's experiences at a beach in Plymouth. To find out more about the events this year and register to take part, visit the Marine Conservation Society's website.

"I joined one of this years first Big Beach Clean Ups on 25th April – at Wembury Beach near Plymouth, a small idyllic cove reminiscent of so many of our fantastic beaches. The Marine Conservation Society  teamed up with Marks & Spencer to run beach clean ups all around the UK – 95 in total – as part of our Forever Fish partnership.  More than just a beach clean up, these events are highlighting why beach litter is such a problem – for wildlife, for beach safety and for local councils. Wildlife such as seabirds, turtles and even the fish that we eat, are being found with plastic rubbish in their stomachs, and local councils are struggling to cover the costs of litter removal to keep our beautiful British beaches beautiful and clean for us all to enjoy. 

"To highlight the problem and promote solutions, MCS, M&S staff and volunteers count all the main items we find on each beach.  The beach at Wembury looked very clean at first sight – we all thought we’d be finished in half an hour with a willing band of 30 volunteers keen to get stuck in and make a clean sweep of it.  But, once we all started looking in amongst the seaweed on the strandline and the rocks at the back of the beach, we found much more than we had bargained for! Angling line entangled amongst the seaweed, bottles wedged behind rocks, lots of pieces of clear plastic almost invisible to the eye – an hour and a half later there was a pile of 20 bags!  My 5 year old son, found a sock and half a tennis ball and was very proud that our bag was one of the heaviest at 13kg!

"The best part of these events for me is meeting so many people that really want to make a difference and clean up a stretch of their favourite beach, but are soon fascinated and shocked by what they find - the realisation that what looks like a clean beach harbours a mountain of litter that has been dropped or washed up onto our beaches.

"What’s the solution to this constant tide of waste? Changing behaviours, designing ways to reduce plastic packaging and raising awareness of the scale and impact of litter.  The findings from the Big Beach Clean Up and other surveys run by MCS identifies the key sources of beach litter so that we can stop it at source.  

With the support of Marks & Spencer and the enthusiasm of their staff, this years Big Beach Clean Up saw over 7,000 volunteers take part, clearing over 25 tonnes of rubbish – 25 tonnes that can no longer harm wildlife or blot the seascape. 

"The problem is not going to be solved easily – but everyone can make a difference and one way is to take part in the next beach litter survey - the biggest ever in the UK – on 19-22nd September - for the MCS Great British Beach Clean.  You may be surprised just how much you enjoy donning a pair of gloves and delving amongst the sand, seaweed and pebbles to fill a bag full of rubbish!"

Sam Fanshawe, CEO Marine Conservation Society

This article originally appeared on the M&S Corporate Blog

Inside M&S
5 May, 2015

Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve

At M&S, we've had a responsible fishing policy for the past 15 years, and we've taken that even further with our Forever Fish campaign. All our wild fish comes from the most sustainable sources available to us, and our partnerships with the Marine Conservation Society and WWF are helping to protect our precious sea life, oceans and beaches. Plus, we donate all the profits from the sale of food carrier bags to WWF, MCS and an education programme to protect the marine environment.

We also have a wider vision for our marine ecosystem: to educate small-scale fisheries on the benefits of fishing sustainably. We support the Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve project, which seeks to engage small-scale fishermen in managing the marine ecosystem in the area.

Fiona Wheatley, Plan A Sustainable Development Manager at M&S, told us: "Led by the Blue Marine Foundation, this pioneering project puts fishermen at the heart of decision-making from the beginning. As a result, they are more open about their own practices and what needs to change to ensure that they are fishing responsibly.

”This group undertook Responsible Fishing Scheme training, introduced quality standards and, with money provided by foundations and local donors, bought ice machines to keep fish fresher for longer. As a result, both the unique reef features of Lyme Bay and the future of the small fishing fleet are much more secure. We hope this will create a blueprint which we can then roll out across the country. I’m optimistic the tide has turned and we will start to see coastal areas where fish, fishermen and communities thrive again.”

Angus Walker, fisherman, Axmouth

"Axmouth Harbour, which is where I work from, is the oldest harbour in the whole country. We’ve got 14 boats that fish in this quay, which is the most we’ve had in 30 years.

"In addition to funding towards vital equipment and improvements of the port, what M&S and the Blue Marine Foundation have provided us with a voice. Without them, us fisherman wouldn't be heard. They know how to deal with government and get through the red tape. With their help, we are provided with the necessary support and can still get on with doing what we're good at: catching and selling quality seafood. It's the little things, too, that make a big difference. All the local fishermen get to sit down together in a room once a month and swap views. That would never have happened before. And the Blue Marine Foundation organises it all for us, which takes a huge weight off our shoulders.

"We've got a much better understanding of how the authorities work now. And, of course, they have been given the opportunity to hear our thoughts and feelings, which has made a huge difference. Collaboration is key here."

Jim Newton, fisherman, Beer

"We’re rewarded for low-impact fishing and for high-quality fish. The Blue Marin foundation have provided us with improved fish storage units, insulation boxes and an ice machine. All of these help to prolong the quality of the fish, which will lead to a high price for what we have caught.

"The voluntary Code of Conduct has made big difference to us as we helped to write it and agreed to it from the off. As a result, we are now all fishing responsibly.

"And we know it's the right thing to do - at the end of the day, we all want the same thing, which is for our marine ecosystem to still be there in the future."


Find out more about M&S commitment to sustainable fishing, and don't forget the 2015 #beachclean is taking place from 7 to 13 May.

Click here for more information and to register to find your nearest clean up.

Inside M&S
29 April, 2015

We made it again!

"I am delighted that we’ve once again been recognised in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2015. We are one of only a few retailers to achieve this, so it’s something we are all extremely proud of.  

"We’re proud of every woman – at every level of our organisation – whose consistent hard work, commitment, ideas and imagination make us the business we are today. Whether our female employees are delivering outstanding customer service in store, sitting around our boardroom table or inspiring colleagues in any number of roles behind the scenes, we recognise the commitment and difference that every one of them makes.  

"M&S has always had a strong number of female employees, and we’ve maintained this over the years with almost three quarters of our current workforce being female. At the same time, we’ve done a lot of work internally to drive the gender balance at management levels, including the M&S Inspiring Women Network that I set up to run regular development events . From this we’ve organised a number of pilot schemes, including cross business mentoring for senior women, run by the Government backed 30% Club and a female only development programme. We’ve also partnered with a local school to provide 1:1 mentoring support for around 50 female students between the ages of 15 and 17.

"It’s great to see that the work we’ve driven this year has been recognised, and that we are included among some great employers to achieve this accolade. I’m committed to developing our work in this area throughout the year and hope to continue our success. I realise that there is still a lot of work for us to do to ensure that diversity remains a central feature for our senior positions. The recent appointment of Helen Weir, Chief Finance Officer, to our Board, means we are certainly driving a healthy gender balance at our most senior level, and our continued promotion of diversity across the business will only be beneficial for the company."   

Fiona Aitken, International Employee Relations Manager

The full list of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2015 is available via the Opportunity Now website.  

This article orignally appeared on the M&S Corporate blog

Inside M&S


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