Can you responsibly source products from China?

Posted by Penny Andrews on

I've just taken delivery of two beautiful new products (to be added to the online store very soon). They are a wooden plant shelf which you may have seen in some of the lifestyle shots on the website and social media, and a small wooden coffee/side table. They were both made in China.

I've had friends and family ask me, "Can you have ethically sourced products that were made in China?" To them I have replied, "Yes you can". And here's how I made sure that these two products could be included on the website for Ederra Home and Garden Décor without compromising my promise to only stock products that are responsibly sourced.

I began with a lot of research. Firstly I looked into the wood that was being used. The plant shelf and the table are both made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified fir wood. This means that the wood was harvested sustainably.

Secondly I looked at the company itself, including the factory. The manufacturer I used was audited by the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) in 2014/2015. This means that it voluntarily submitted itself to a program in order to provide insight into their compliance with the BSCI code of conduct. This code of conduct focuses on workplace conditions, human rights and labour laws. I took this as a very good sign.

Finally I considered a paid report from a third party that gave an overview of the company, its products and included some photos. I also considered all of the other business related factors, including its reliability, reputation and the other companies that it suppled with products. Having looked at all this information, I was satisfied that I could honestly say that these products were made in China and were responsibly sourced. I then let out a big sigh of relief because I really loved both the plant shelf and the coffee table and this meant I could buy them!

After doing this research I continued to be interested in the topic and kept reading related articles I came across. This piece on clothing manufacturing was very positive. However, on a less positive note was this piece that explores non compliance of legal standards in Australia . It served as a reminder to me that even in Australia, some people will take the opportunity to exploit others to make a profit. Certification and auditing is a key component in responsible manufacturing and sourcing of products, wherever they are made. At Ederra, I'll keep checking so you don't have to (when buying here at least).....

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