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We welcomed in the New Year this month, and while it was very cold and dreary, big brands delivering more than just shareholder profits keep us optimistic.

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Santander UK drops 2:1 requirement for graduate scheme to boost the socioeconomic diversity of its recruits


In January, Santander UK announced it will no longer require graduates joining its scheme to have 2:1 degrees or higher, in an effort to increase the socioeconomic diversity of its recruits. Noting that university performance does not guarantee success in the workplace, the bank’s decision will open up opportunities to an extra 64,000 applicants. A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found access to ‘elite jobs’ was often determined by the degree studied, the institution the student studied at and their performance. Santander has set a target of boosting the proportion of its employees from disadvantaged backgrounds in senior roles to 35% by 2030.

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Estée Lauder Companies launches beauty app for visually impaired community, while L’Oreal owned Lancôme created its own beauty accessibility innovations


Estée Lauder Companies introduced in January a new artificial intelligence-powered mobile app that helps visually impaired users apply their makeup with ease. The beauty company said it had consulted with the visually impaired community before launching the app to pinpoint their needs. Meanwhile, L’Oreal-owned Lancôme announced plans to launch a motion stabilising device called HAPTA where users with limited hand and arm mobility can use a hand-held smart makeup applicator and can help with opening difficult packages.

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Love Island partners with eBay again for pre-loved looks on new series and Oxfam to stage charity show during London Fashion Week


eBay has committed to sponsoring another season of Love Island. ITV said 53% of viewers who were aware of the partnership had bought pre-loved in the past three months demonstrating the relevance of the brands. In other circular fashion news, charity retailer Oxfam announced a second-hand charity fashion show to take place in the London Fashion Week. Models will sport second-hand designer items and vintage finds, which will all be sold in an auction on eBay with all proceeds donated to Oxfam. Here’s hoping the circular fashion trend is here to stay.

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