Which Country of Origin?

May 28, 2021

Posted on 28th May 2021 at 14:36

From Our What’sUp? Workshop 26 May 2021

How do we know where something is manufactured?
It’s on the packaging, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not quite so simple because, according to our panel on the Workshop, materials can be sourced from one country, repackaged, or used in some way and then shipped onward to another destination. In some cases, the packaging may show something different to reality, such as when the outer package is re-used or repurposed. After all, we’re all interested in reducing our carbon footprint so using a box that is the right size makes sense.
Not so, if when it arrives at its destination, customs query the origin which could hold it up or even reassign different duties because of a discrepancy on the outside.
Often, we’re not too concerned where a product is manufactured or assembled, as long as it does the job, but it’s also important to consider what would happen if there’s a product failure or a material fault – how to trace back to the original supply if the information isn’t accurate. In addition, where traceability is important for certifications such as CE and UKCA, who becomes liable?
Hiding the true origins of a product is a practice that dates back many many years and includes applying similar labels onto a product to those of a recognised quality product. The purchaser often shoulders the burden of either rectifying having been supplied a product they may not have expected or dealing with something of uncertain origin.
We’re all becoming more aware of questioning where our products and materials are sourced from, and in time, systems will become more robust in ensuring certification through recognised intermediates. In the meantime, do whatever is reasonable to make sure that what it says on the outside is actually what is on the inside.