Green credentials has topped Mintel’s list of 2015 consumer trends, with over three quarters of British adults taking this into account before purchasing anything from a company. With consumers taking more notice of unethical policies and procedures, UK businesses are being forced to change their ways and prioritise corporate responsibility more than ever before.
Mark Thompson, Co-Founder of Stafford-based display company Printdesigns said, “Consumers have a right to know everything about what they are buying, including where it was manufactured and distributed, and if the workers involved in the process are paid a fair wage. The British public are recognising the blatant exploitation by many businesses, and fighting against it by boycotting companies or simply choosing more ethical alternatives.”
British consumers are particularly paying attention to the reputation of a company, as well as the green credentials of individual products including the manufacturing and distribution processes. With a high percentage of products on the British market manufactured in Asia, there is a high probability that somewhere along the chain workers were exploited or even child labour was used.
It is not good enough for companies to say they monitor factories and offices where work is outsourced – sometimes businesses don’t know the working conditions themselves. A high profile example is a charity T-shirt produced by feminist group The Fawcett Society and Whistles, which various politicians and celebrities wore to show their support last year. Claims were made that the T-shirts were made in a sweatshop in Mauritius by women sleeping 16 to a bedroom and being paid 62p an hour.
Mr Thompson added, “It is no longer good enough for consumers to trust business tycoons when they assure them that everything is compliant with ethical standards when products are made abroad. It is difficult to prove, so the best thing for a company to do to retain its customers is actually move all manufacturing jobs to Europe or right here in the UK, which will also boost our economy.”
That is exactly what Printdesigns has done, after investing in the specialist printing equipment needed to produce high quality exhibition stands, printed garments and portable marketing solutions. Unlike its many competitors, it prints, sews and finishes every single product in-house at its Stafford premises.
Companies justify moving production overseas by stating it is too expensive to manufacture products in the UK. But Printdesigns is a prime example of how a business can operate fully on British shores and still offer the best value in the UK. By heavily investing in the latest state-of-the-art equipment, bulk buying materials and operating an independent warehouse, Printdesigns is able to significantly lower the cost of production and pass these savings onto its customers.