EVERY Thursday at 1pm Made in Britain hosts #madeinbritainhour on Twitter. During that hour Made in Britain asks questions of its 19,500 followers and the results are fascinating. Previously this information was enjoyed by the audience at the time and then left to drift away in the Twittersphere, rarely read again. So, we have decided to capture some of the best comments and re-present them for a new audience and easy reference. Some of the responses have been edited.
20 August 2020 – green marketing
The lifetime of a product is more important than initial price; this is a key message from #madeinbritainhour today #sustainability
Question one: How do you communicate the environmental credentials of a product to the purchaser? Which aspects are important and how do you display/communicate these? Are there standards in place?
Response: “For us it is not something we actively promote. We recycle, consolidate shipments, local supply chains etc and keep waste to a minimum (except coffee pods - still can't find anywhere to recycle these). Been looking at ISO14001.”
Response: “Through adherence with internationally recognised standards displayed on all communication and packaging.”
Response: “As with all communication, it's important to make it clear and memorable - so focus on one credential at a time and link it to stories and case studies that illustrate the point.”
Response: “I think a great way to start is to define "Greener" in relation to the company, it mission and ethics. It means different things to different people. What does it mean to your customers?”
Response: “I have seen @BrewDog make it a marketing campaign. And they are doing really well with it.”
Response: “We're in a market where plastic hygiene dispensers dominate and metal is seen as costly, however we use recycled material, they last years (10yr warranty) and can be recycled again at the end of their life. We promote this during sales process and marketing comms.”
Response: “Sell quality products that have a spares back up, a lot of cheaper options scrapped as soon as a fault occurs - we only refurb quality - so great used bargains.”
Question two: What are the barriers to manufacturers becoming more environmentally friendly?
Response: “Cost is sometimes a barrier for manufacturers or perceived cost of change.”
Response: “Being green = adopting costs and changes to processes across the value chain, from legislation to packaging. Manufacturers must eventually adopt them to stay relevant. Ultimately it will be down to the customers... they may walk if they consider the products/services are not green.”
Made in Britain: Ultimately? Do you think a change is needed now, three years, five years to stay relevant?
Response: “It depends on the product and the industry. Many in textiles or plastic production are already seeing the backlash. Other industries that cannot change or move that fast need to be seen that they are considering their environmental impact and doing something about it.”
Response: “There is a line between sustainability, making a product/service that actually works & keeping it affordable. It is reality that sometimes these factors can't line up to create a #sustainable product. We should be pushing to set boundaries that make this balancer easier to create.”
Made in Britain: Or better communicating the balancing act to purchasers?
Response: “Yes 100%. Purchasers mostly look to drive down costs, but unfortunately cheaper products are usually less #sustainable and #ethical due to manufacturing methods finding the cheapest options to gain the most sales. If this was a known, maybe cost would become less of a sales drive”
Response: “Barriers for us are some of the cables we use aren't as green as they could be but that is mainly down to the harsh environments they are being utilised in where alternatives will not be robust enough.”
Response: “The barriers of cost and quality feature highly - can you maintain product quality using "greener" materials/processes, or would that mean an increase in production costs? Quite often it might not be feasible now, but can be planned for in the short term.”
Response: “The barriers change depending on the industry you are in. Oil and gas and its supply chain would be difficult to ‘Green’.”
Made in Britain: I think their plan is to offset their carbon footprint. Not entirely sure how they would calculate that though?
Response: “Just jumping into this question as we have come a long way on the sustainable journey. It does take change and investment but it is fair to say we have also saved money and found improvements. We also believe change is a necessity for our long-term future.”
Made in Britain: What was the driver for change and who made that decision?
Response: “The change came from the business owner - our impact on the environment and making a positive change so it is an ethical choice which is also driving the business change.”
Response: “As a product design consultancy we're keen to investigate reusable plastics in mouldings for our clients. It has always been a challenge because of their limited availability and the perceived risks from contamination.”
Question three: Are environmental considerations as important to purchasers in export markets as they are in Britain?
Response: “Depends on where it is going. A lot of our assemblies end up in the US requiring UL certification. UL take into consideration a number of factors one of which is the environmental impact. Other markets are less conscious and it comes down to cost!”
Response: “Totally agree, markets differ and so to do different companies within those markets.”
Question four: Does the reduction in the environmental impact of the product and its manufacture result in an increase, decrease or no change in the total cost of the manufactured product?
Response: “Automation has helped reduce wastage and improve accuracy. Our waste is mainly cable - fully of lovely copper. Every few months the scrap gets collected, recycled and we get paid for it. Price of copper is going up too.”
Question five: Do businesses need to see a positive return on investment to move to be more environmentally friendly? And over what period should this be evaluated?
Response: “A business should always seek a positive return on investment, but the trick is to be smart about the returns. They will ultimately be financial but they may be two or three steps removed, so you need to look at the whole picture to make the right decision.”
Made in Britain: Over what period should the business look at this?
Response: “It depends on a number of factors - not least the size of the investment being evaluated - but there is a balance to be found. Always insisting on a payback within a year will rule out too much, but looking out too far is not sustainable.”
Response: “Governments could put measures into place that meant being environmentally friendly always bought back a positive return. We would see a lot more companies, who are reluctant to change, bringing about environmental policies if there was a guaranteed."
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