If ‘trust’ is a commodity, right now it feels like it’s in short supply. John Pearce explains how we can start to rebuild it
WHEN we’re trying to make sense of political campaigning, track complex trade negotiations or simply needing to know where something was made or a food product was grown, there aren’t many choices we can make without applying a good deal of trust. How can we believe in a product’s safety mark, or that the business selling that product is ethically sourcing its raw materials and is fair to all its employees? We have to measure and compare levels of trust to make informed decisions about what to buy, and what to not buy.
But like so many other abstract nouns, trust isn’t an easy thing to quantify, even for those who measure and compare it for a living. Researchers studying society’s trust in its public services can’t contribute to improving policy unless they can measure and monitor levels of trust, and it’s really not easy. The universally accepted methodology looks at what scientists call ‘latent variables’ – the study of a whole suite of easy-to-measure criteria, to paint a clear comparable picture using statistics and arithmetic, that can help us define the ‘hard to quantify’. For example, measuring a person’s height, weight, age, waistline and alcohol intake can give you a good idea of their overall health. These numbers sit behind the abstract ‘health’ definition but are vital to making fair, academically robust and comparable measures to support health advice and government policy.
Along comparable lines, Made in Britain is monitoring not just the factory location of its members and the number of people manufacturing their products, but a full portfolio of 80 relevant facts and items of detail recorded on every member’s directory page, which together paint a picture of a business that wants to win your trust by being as transparent as it is possible to be. What our organisation wants most of all is for consumers and buyers, when they see the mark, to trust Made in Britain to bring together the most up-to-date and useful collection of British manufacturing businesses across 60 different sectors.
When visiting the page of any of our members, recorded and comparable items of evidence will help you with your buying decision and to have faith in the business, verifying their membership number, and you can believe in their claims that the product is fit for purpose and safe to use. You can also check up on ISO management quality marks, Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and click through to find trusted suppliers of their product in the UK and aboard. This paints a picture of trust in them and faith in the collective mark.
That is why the collaborative effort of the Made in Britain organisation is more important now than ever. Made in Britain helps to raise overall levels of trust in its members’ businesses, by encouraging them to be as transparent as possible.
As a non-profit organisation, we work for the collective uplift in the prosperity of 60 British manufacturing sectors and our members trust us with their collective reputation and to verify that the mark is protected for them to use. They also agree to help us to protect the mark by whistle-blowing on abuses of it wherever they find them – and we chase them all.
We bring together many different sizes of SME manufacturer, from exciting new start-ups to multi-niche industrial specialists, and give them the opportunity to tell their own story via our #MiBnews channel. Since launch in April 2019, more than 200 members have co-constructed a narrative across all our sectors that proves manufacturers are resilient, strategic, ambitious and passionate. They trust Made in Britain to be the one media outlet that focuses entirely on their progress and how the network of members is both teaching and learning from each other for the greater good.
At times it’s hard to know what to have faith in, but your business can choose to trust the Made in Britain mark because we’re measuring comparative businesses’ transparency for the first time ever in Britain, on a day-by-day, week-by-week, year-by-year basis. And in SME manufacturing there is an enormous amount of goodwill and mutual trust to be found.