Is Buying Globally Becoming A Problem?
In the past few years, some consumers have made the decision to increase their consumption of British-made products. A variety of political, economic, and environmental factors have been key to shifting global trends. More people have become aware of how imports of cheap goods from abroad have harmed our environment and buying domestic goods is one step towards reducing the environmental effects that shipping has on our planet. Below are some reasons why some people have shifted their attention to UK-made goods.
REDUCED CARBON FOOTPRINT
Goods that are produced and sold in the UK have less movement than a product sourced from abroad. Many companies import from countries in East and Southeast Asia where the costs of production are far lower than in the UK. Whilst this can be beneficial, the obvious problem is the significant carbon footprint from transporting goods via plane or ship to the UK. Freight ships on average emit 140 MILLION METRIC TONNES of CO₂ per year, the equivalent of over one million miles driven by a typical passenger car and would take a forest 400x the size of London a year to offset the carbon emissions. 27% of global carbon emissions are produced in CHINA. Even though this sounds like a problem caused by solely China, production demands from places like the UK, USA and the EU export large amounts of carbon emissions to Asia. The UK exports an estimated 191 MILLION TONNES of carbon emissions to other nations, with 37% of our manufacturing needing to be imported. Buying British Made goods means that the product has not needed to be transported from another country releasing fewer carbon emissions.
LOWER LEAD TIMES
Other than carbon emissions another big disadvantage of importing is the lead times involved. A freight ship from Southern China to London can take anywhere from 6-7 WEEKS, not including delays, but products shipped from London to Edinburgh could be done overnight. Geographical boundaries are a major challenge for multinational supply chains. All products from Asia shipped by sea to the UK must come through the Suez Canal which connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. In March 2021, The EVER GIVEN container ship was jammed, blocking the Canal for six days. This caused an estimated global shipping delay of 60 days.
The UK's withdrawal from the EU has led to delays in shipments from our neighbours in the EU but this has created an opportunity to buy and support UK manufactured goods. Higher lead times can make it tougher for businesses to respond to spikes in demand, with firms who manufacture in the UK able to be more flexible with production in these scenarios.
The cost of shipping can be rather expensive. The average cost of a 40-foot container from China to the UK could cost $5,480 with prices changing mid-journey due to changing exchange rates. If the pound fluctuated during the journey of a shipment with an estimated cost of £4,000 on departure may end up being £5,000 on arrival. This rising cost for businesses has led to price rises and is one of the contributing factors to the current high inflation rate. This is completely mitigated for UK-based production as exchange rates have no effect, enabling high-quality British Made goods to be priced more competitively against foreign imports.
TRADITIONAL MANUFACTURING METHODS
Some UK manufacturers like Potters Box Makers use timeless manufacturing processes which keep a historic handcraft method alive, as well as produce packaging without a significant carbon output. We have always prided ourselves on being a UK manufacturer and supplier. Even though historically and presently we source high-quality products from across the globe we are making firm efforts to grow our local supply chains and increase our range of UK-made packaging.