In the past couple of decades we’ve seen so many cases like Apple’s Chinese workshop suicides and Nike’s thick files of sweatshop issues that we’ve stopped being shocked. Seeking out ethically made products has become less ground-breaking, and more a part of standard shopping behaviour.
Of course, shrouds of marketing and a hundred kinds of label make pinpointing an ethical choice difficult; that’s where ‘Made in Britain’ comes in.
From fashion to food, products sourced and assembled in Britain are much more likely to have been made without child labour or appallingly low wages, and have the added bonus of putting more pounds back into the local economy.
For years there was a struggle for locally-made brands to keep up with demand. The production facilities of British brands just didn’t cater to masses, and many chose to move offshore to keep profits high. In the last few years, though, it’s become less economically feasible to produce overseas; and more sales savvy to come home.
In the past few years leaders of the game have started to change the rules, marketing themselves on British pride and home-grown industry: Asos.com, DWP, and Haringey Council have joined forces to run a ‘Stitch Academy,’ aimed at producing British workers for local garment factories. Marks & Spencer has a ‘Best of British’ range in every department. Even John Lewis and Tesco’s – companies with completely different brand identities – have made the same promise to bring their production back to Britain and have actually taken action to that effect.
Why ‘Made in Britain’?
Research shows that 52% of Brits would pay more for local produce knowing that more money went to the farmers, and – proving the link between British-made and ethically-made – 25% said they’d take the “green” option even if it cost more.
Much of the reason for this is psychological: any kind of sticker labelling any kind of quality – whether it’s an organic certification or a country of origin logo – will draw more customers to it. In this sense, ‘Made in Britain’ is simply a popular brand, and products can get away with only talking the talk.
73% of people surveyed associate British brands with higher standards of quality, so this is a great kind of branding to cash in on. Consumers and investors must be wary that even a slither of Scottish tweed in an otherwise foreign-made coat can classify it as ‘British’.
For example, HP Sauce, Royal Daulton, and Mulberry are all made outside the UK, despite having built their images on being quintessential British products. Not a Label wonders if ‘Britishness,’ therefore, is more rooted in history than in practice or products.
Whichever way you wish to define a British product, there’s no arguing that not only are products actually made in Britain more likely to be ethically sourced and assembled, they’re also better for the economy and the environment.
Locally-made products not only use far fewer fossil fuels in the production line, they also result in a huge economic boost for the community. Small businesses employ local people, put their earnings straight back into their surroundings, and give 250% more to NGOs and charities than big companies. Supporting British-made, therefore, is supporting British life; local farmers, schools, and public services.
How to invest in ‘Made in Britain’
It might be time to find out which ethical, ‘Made in Britain’ company is an investment match for you. With such a surge in patriotism and ethically-made goods, ‘Made in Britain’ could be profitable for you as well as your country.
Every day shopping, on the other hand, requires an easier kind of research. Marketing and word-of-mouth makes checking labels in-store a pain. Thankfully, the demand for ‘Made in Britain’ has sparked an equal surge of verification websites, which you could exhaust yourself sorting through; or you could just pick your favourites from those listed below.
– Labour Behind The Label has a huge range of resources to help you keep tabs on the fashion industry, and which British labels are behaving badly. For those with hearts of gold, they also have opportunities for you to donate to exploited garment workers or otherwise get involved.
– Make It British has a directory of completely British brands, as well as a news section full of updates on the latest Made in Britain initiatives.
– Not On The High Street helps you to keep things, not just British, but independently so. This websites sources goods from small British businesses instead of big nationwide chains, allowing you to support local businesses when you splurge online instead of ordering from the USA.
Would you like to get to the bottom of which companies full embrace the ‘Made in Britain’ ethos? Please, get in touch. We’ll be very happy to help.