Do you know where your product is coming from? What has gone into the materials you are using for your product? Are the workers who are making your product being treated fairly? Are your products and packaging made from sustainable materials?
Ethical sourcing should be considered for your new product. Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in ensuring products are ethically made.
When creating a product to sell you have the responsibility to understand how ethical it is. There are some legal responsibilities, like knowing the country of origin. You also want to be sure your business is helping to make the world better.
Consumers will want to know your story, and how you are making an impact on the world. If, for example, you were found to be using factories that exploit workers, the publicity would likely ruin your business. However, you can improve your brand value and more importantly FEEL GOOD about what you are doing by always considering ethical sourcing.
About four and half years ago we witnessed the Rana Plaza Factory collapse in Bangladesh, which claimed over 1100 lives. The place was totally unfit to be used as a place of business. The building was flimsy and unsafe. Many large name brands were manufactured there. Some didn’t even know their brands were being made there! Sometimes the factories they choose are at capacity and so work gets outsourced, and sometimes even outsourced again. Unfortunately when the supply chain doesn’t get tracked, products can end up being made in places like this. Poor safety standards, poor hygiene, child labour and exploited workers are the result.
Know where your product is from. Ideally, you would visit the factory, farm or manufacturing site. This isn’t always possible, especially for small start-ups. You can contact some organisations in Australia for assistance. You can partner with Fairtrade Australia to either become a licensee of Fairtrade products or purchase them. Ethical Clothing Australia is an organisation that works with local manufacturers. Producing locally will probably be more expensive, but it will be easier to get smaller quantities and control your quality.
There are often sourcing expos you can visit like International Sourcing Expo Australia to help with finding suppliers in the apparel, accessories and textiles industries. Overseas manufacturing can be more difficult to monitor. You will need to travel there, or have a trusted agent see the supplier on your behalf.
It’s important to simply do the right thing, and take all measures to try and source ethically. By having a great story behind your products, you will feel great about your brand and your brand value will sky-rocket!