Category Archives: The Challenge

Nearly New Sale Dilemma!

Picture of NCT Nearly New SaleI’m off to a NCT nearly new sale on Saturday with my sister to see if I can pick up some more baby items we need.

But my dilemma regarding our challenge is whether it is okay to buy second hand baby items that are not made in the UK?

So if I find a lovely baby outfit that was made in China is that okay to buy because I’m recycling and not increasing China’s imports to our country. However, I’m still not increasing UK manufacturing either!

So would my purchase be neutral? It would neither help UK or China’s manufacturing economy so actually I guess it is detrimental to the UK business economy.

I think I’ll go and try in the first instance to find baby items made in the UK, then Europe and then elsewhere in that order and see how I get on!

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We’re Over 50%!

Picture of Baby Products Made In Pie ChartI thought it was time for a Challenge Update.

And as you can see 52% of all our baby items (donated, made or bought) are made in the UK! Hurrah!

We are hoping with the remaining 46 baby items we still need to buy that we can get up to 75% made in the UK.

Challenge Update

Picture of Baby Products Made In Pie ChartTime for an update on our challenge I think! Since the last post we have bought 5 more baby products made in the UK and 1 made in Europe so the results should be getting better.

Of the 36 baby items we have so far:

  • Made in the UK: 15 items (inc. 6 items given to us and 1 handmade by us)
  • Made in China: 8 items (inc. 2 items given to us)
  • Unknown Origin: 6 items (all given to us)
  • Made in Europe: 5 items
  • Made in India: 1 item (given to us)
  • Made in Turkey: 1 item (given to us)

Now we are getting somewhere! 41.7% of all the items we have bought so far are made in the UK!

Hopefully we can get over 50% and start heading towards 75%!

I’ve just about decided that I’m going to return 2 baby products we ordered online from Mothercare that are made in China; the travel changing mat and the last baby dress. Once I have returned them the number of baby items made in China will only be 6.

The Results So Far!

I thought it was about time to count up the baby items we have and post the results of how we are doing with the challenge!

Picture of Baby Items Made In Pie ChartThe baby items we have so far:

  • Made in the UK: 10 items (inc. 6 items given to us and 1 handmade by us)
  • Made in China: 8 items (inc. 2 items given to us)
  • Unknown Origin: 6 items (all given to us)
  • Made in Europe: 4 items
  • Made in India: 1 item (given to us)
  • Made in Turkey: 1 item (given to us)

Only 33% of all the items we have bought so far are made in the UK!

27% are from China, 13% are from Europe, 3% from India and 3% from Turkey.

I’m pleased that we have bought or been given baby products from the UK more than any other country, but 33% is still very low!

Is it Enough to Buy British Made?

Picture of Cotton Production Statistics

The United States are the only UN member country that has not signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

I have been wondering over the last few days whether it is enough to only find out whether something is made in the UK. Sounds weird I know – but what if my support of UK manufacturing also ends up supporting child labour in another country?

If I find a UK manufacturer of babywear, but they buy their cotton from India where child labour is used to pick the cotton, then I might be supporting British industry but at the same time may also be supporting child labour or unfair trading in another country.

It seems to make a mockery of my ethics if I don’t find out where the raw material, that UK manufacturers buy in to make baby clothing, has been sourced from and under what conditions it has been made.

Some Stats and Examples

Picture of Child Labour - Picking Cotton

They work 10 hour shifts in 40C heat for 20 pence a day picking the cotton that make our bed sheets (2008 Guardian).

It is estimated that there are between 70 and 80 million child labourers in India (Campaign Against Child Labour). Child labour accounts for 22% of the workforce in Asia, 32% in Africa, 17% in Latin America, 1% in US, Canada, Europe and other wealthy nations (source Wikipedia).

In 2007 a Sunday newspaper exposed that child labourers were working in the embroidery industry in production of GAP Kids blouses. GAP accepted this and pulled the products from its shelves (source Wikipedia).

In 2008 the BBC reported on Primark using child labour in the manufacture of its clothing (source Wikipedia).

In 2009 both H&M and Zara were found to be selling clothes made with cotton which may have been picked by children and that many of their raw materials originated from Uzbekistan, where children aged 10 are forced to work in the fields. Although H&M and Zara’s code of conduct banned child labour, H&M admitted they did not have reliable methods to ensure Uzbek cotton did not end up in any of its products (source Wikipedia).

So is it enough to only find out whether a product is made in the UK or should I also find out where the raw materials have been bought from too?

What’s the Score So Far?

So how are we doing so far in our challenge? Well not very well at all really!

  • Made in the UK: 3 items
  • Made in Europe: 4 items
  • Made in China: 6 items

Only 23% of all the items we have bought so far are made in the UK! 31% are from Europe and 46% are from China.

This is very disappointing!

Hello and Welcome to My Blog!

Image of the Union Jack in a heart shapeHi I’m Cathy, welcome to my blog! I am a new mother-to-be and my husband, Robert and I have set ourselves the challenge of finding the baby products we need that are made in the UK and as eco-friendly as possible.

This challenge came about after a shopping trip where we looked at all the new born clothes to buy from Next, Gap, BHS, M&S, Boots and other high street stores. We found, much to our dismay that they were all made in China, Sri Lanka or India.

Being business owners for the last 12 years we have made a commitment not to outsource our services out of the country but to support and provide employment in the UK. We make it a priority to try to buy from local, independent suppliers and shops where we can, not only to support their businesses, but also to reduce the carbon-miles of the items we purchase.

The Government is also relying on the private sector to provide growth to the economy and employment during this time of painful cuts to reduce the deficit. This will be achieved if we buy more products that are made or manufactured in the UK.

However, I’m ashamed to say, we have already fallen at the first hurdle by being quite taken in by discounts and lovely designs and have found that some of our purchases so far include products made in China!