When shopping online, a lot of people tend to be concerned with the price of a product and how long it will take to be delivered, rather than where the product is coming from. Similarly, when shopping in stores, it is very rare that people will check the label to determine where the product originates from. However, there are many negative factors associated with ordering from China to the UK such as low quality and a large carbon footprint. Buy Britain is here to explain how we can avoid buying from China, as well as how buying from China affects our carbon footprint.
So, how can I avoid buying from China in the UK? If a product, website, or company has a ‘Made in Britain’ logo, it’s a key indicator that you aren’t buying from China. If this isn’t visible then check the labels, product descriptions, or website information. If this information is hard to find, consider another company that does include this on their product/website.
Keep reading to learn more about the difference in quality of products made in China compared to the UK as well as why we buy so much from China instead of the UK.
How Can I Avoid Ordering From China to the UK?
A lot of people are not aware of the amount of Chinese products that are available on the UK market, which results in them not knowing how to avoid purchasing said products. In 2019, reports found that China was the fourth largest country that accounted for imports to the UK and this is increasing with the recent rise in online shopping. It is becoming harder for shoppers to identify when they are purchasing products sourced from China, so we have put together our key tips to help with this process.
Look for the Made in Great Britain Logo:
What’s more, you can even look for products that have the Made in Great Britain Logo. This logo is placed on products that have legitimately been made in Great Britain and can act as a visual sign for you when filtering through products that you wish to buy. Although not all products made in the UK use this logo, it does provide peace of mind when you see a product that is displaying this logo.
Check the Labels:
Another way that you can avoid purchasing products from China is to check the labels on them. Most commonly on clothing, you will find that within the labels there are disclaimers such as “made in China” or “made in India”. These labels can be found on other products such as toys, furniture and pottery. Looking out for these labels is a good way to actively avoid purchasing products that are made in China and take very little time.
Research the Brand:
If you shop with a particular brand or are interested in purchasing from a brand for the first time, our advice would be to do some research into them. Researching into their supply chain process will help you to determine whether they source and produce their products in China. Sometimes, you will find that companies source their products from all over the world and not just China, but that is completely your decision as to whether you wish to continue purchasing from them.
Here are some of the big brands that source or manufacture in China:
Research for British Made Products:
Alternatively, if you want to avoid the time it takes to research each brand you purchase from, then you could search for websites that only supply British made products. In doing so, you will find a group of websites that you know you can trust when doing your shopping. A lot of these types of websites don’t only supply one type of product, so you may find that you can shop for British made skincare as well as British made clothing all in one place.
Why Do We Buy So Much From China Instead of the UK?
Although we can take personal steps to avoid purchasing products that have been sourced from China, it is also important to know why we purchase so many products from China in the first place. Some people may not be aware of the reasons why companies choose to manufacture products and source materials in China, even though we have manufacturing companies in the UK.
One of the main reasons why we buy so many products that have been produced or supplied from China, is because they can offer a lower manufacturing cost. This is appealing to large companies because it means that the margins between cost of goods and revenue generated can be a lot higher. Due to Chinese manufacturers being able to offer such low prices, big brands can pass these savings on to their consumers whilst making a profit. This results in these brands becoming popular with consumers, which increases the issue of funding companies that source from China.
Another reason why we buy so much from China, is because they have the ability to produce mass amounts of products with a fairly quick turnaround time. To large corporations, this is ideal and means that they can keep up with large demand and quick turnover. Furthermore, due to the low pay rate in China, manufacturing companies are never short of staff so they always have the working hands in order to meet the demands of large companies. Cost and turnaround time are very important factors to companies that are profit orientated which is why so many continue to produce in China despite the changes in public opinion.
Recent reports have raised issues with the terrible working conditions that workers have to undertake in China. A popular clothing brand called Shein was scrutinised for the severity of its working conditions which saw employees working 11-12 hour days in factories that do not meet regulatory standards. What’s more, an employee reported that there were no clear fire exits and there are no employee contracts which means that they work 75 hour weeks. Yet large companies continue to utilise manufacturers in China despite these horrific conditions because it is easily overlooked. This is another reason why we purchase from china; because companies continue to take advantage of the low standards of working conditions over there.
Is There a Difference in the Quality of Products Made In China Compared to the UK?
One of the most well-known disadvantages of manufacturing products in China, is the lower quality control that tends to be experienced. This is why a lot of customers are left unsatisfied when they receive products that are broken, of poor quality materials or even just not put together properly. In most cases, this is because of the increased pressure of producing on such a large scale for such a short deadline. It almost seems as though companies are willing to allow standards to slip on quality as long as product turnaround is fast.
Furthermore, due to China being so far away from the UK, it is not very often that companies travel to their factories to advise on how they want their products to improve. As a result, they tend to just allow for the percentage of products that aren’t up to standard because they are so cheap to produce.
Products made within the UK, are typically made by manufacturers that are smaller and therefore take more time to produce. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing because it means more time is put into producing the product to a higher standard. In addition to this, it means that companies are able to send products back if they are not happy with the quality because the delivery doesn’t take a significant amount of time or cost too much. As a result, products made in the UK tend to be of a consistently higher quality which results in higher customer satisfaction.
How Does Buying From China Affect Our Carbon Footprint?
Ordering goods from China to the UK can affect our carbon footprint. This is because in completing a purchase from China you are adding to the amount of carbon dioxide produced in the atmosphere. As such, when you order a product from China, you are ordering from the largest contributor of CO2 worldwide and adding to the problem. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere contributes to global warming and creates the following issues:
- Melting ice caps.
- Extreme weather conditions e.g. heatwaves, wildfires and floods.
- Changes to where wildlife populations can survive.
- Issues with producing food.
This is why it is important to try and source goods from countries or areas that are closer to home and reduce your carbon footprint. Purchasing goods from the UK to be delivered to the UK is one of the ways to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to reducing global warming. Not only will you be supporting smaller, local businesses but you will also be making a difference to the future of our planet just by taking some extra time in researching the companies you are buying from.
British Made Products From Buy Britain
Buy Britain is the largest shoppable marketplace for British-made products, connecting you with brilliant businesses from around the country who offer a variety of high-quality bespoke products. Buy Britain helps people avoid shopping for goods made in China by offering a variety of high quality, unique products that are made within Great Britain.
For more information about Buy Britain’s products click here.