Gerald Ratner became notorious when he described one of his jewellery chain’s products as ‘total crap’, and unfavourably compared another to a prawn sandwich, after which the Ratner Group went into meltdown, slipped from his control, and was rebranded as the Signet Group, with UK outlets H. Samuel and Ernest Jones. Now these outlets have come to my attention for what I consider to be a far more serious matter.
Yesterday I spent some time reading the latest issue of the excellent Resurgence magazine, this one dedicated to the topics of regeneration and the importance of a circular economy. The biosphere’s health (our existence, in other words) is under huge threat from the way we live. We have to stop plundering non-renewable resources to produce things which are simply discarded when they no longer serve their primary purpose. We must eradicate waste and pollution. These are not just nice things to do – we are at a critical juncture, with ongoing massive loss of biodiversity and the climate change tipping point possibly upon us.
Resurgence was not all doom and gloom, by any means, and pointed out many positive things that are being done now (for example, Finland’s pioneering work on establishing a circular economy).
Thinking of these things, I bumped into an acquaintance. Coincidentally, this person (‘X’) was bursting with indignation about the Signet Group’s irresponsible behaviour. X told me that he/she had worked in several of the group’s UK stores (the H. Samuel and Ernest Jones chains) and had consistently found a dismissive, if not hostile, attitude to recycling.
‘The amount of shit that’s just thrown out!’
X said, ‘The amount of shit that’s [just] thrown out [to go into landfill], you can’t even imagine!’
Apparently, if entirely recyclable materials are not looking totally perfect, then managers tend to say things like, ‘Well, just change it. They’re a bit grubby. Everything in the [landfill] bin!’
There is , I understood from X’s comments, no attempt whatsoever made to recycle anything. So much for the Signet Group’s claims regarding environmental stewardship then! Perhaps these don’t apply in Scotland?
Are other large businesses as bad?
This led to me to wonder whether other large businesses are as bad, and what steps councils and the Scottish Government are taking to monitor such things as large businesses’ recycling practices, and to encourage/enforce recycling. I shall be writing to one of my MSPs and one of my councillors about this, and also asking them to approach the Signet Group to ask for their official policies in this regard as far as their Scottish outlets are concerned.