There are many reasons businesses choose to manufacture in the UK. With the British public becoming more ethically and environmentally conscious, many consumers are choosing to buy British as often as they can. As a result, many furniture retailers are stocking more products made by UK manufacturers to keep up with demand.

Not only can it lead to increased profits, but UK manufacturing is socially responsible and good for the planet. Below, I’ll be outlining just some of the benefits of manufacturing your furniture right here in Britain.

Reducing the use of fossil fuels

Fossil fuels that are used in the transportation of materials and goods are significant contributors to greenhouse gases and global warming. If you manufacture goods or buy materials from overseas, ships, planes and trucks will all be needed to get your items to you.

Manufacturing and buying materials locally means these items don’t have to travel very far, and the distance you’ll need to deliver your furniture to the customer will be a lot shorter too, reducing your carbon footprint and helping to save the environment.

Sourcing sustainable materials

Buying materials locally also gives you the opportunity to find more sustainable and ethical sources. Here in the UK, most handmade items are produced to meet the high standards that our industry demands. And, while this may create more hoops to jump through for furniture makers, it does mean that consumers can purchase a piece that they know has been held up to more scrutiny than other parts of the world known for cut-price production.

A prime example of this can be found in the FSC-certified timber that most quality British furniture makers will use, including ourselves here at Timeless Chesterfields. This certification guarantees that the wood is sourced responsibly from sustainable forests, giving customers peace of mind that they are being less impactful with their purchasing decision.

Supporting the British economy and furniture trade

Buying your materials from British sources, rather than trading with companies overseas, means you’re helping to support local businesses and provide jobs for those in the area. Then, when people buy from you, they’re helping to support your company and livelihood. It’s a constant cycle of putting money back into the UK economy to protect the future of the country’s businesses and jobs — especially after the Brexit deadline.

As well as the economical benefit of buying from the UK, this decision also supports the British furniture industry by keeping quality craftsmanship alive. While money is important, without the demand for our furniture, the traditional skills and manufacturing base we have in this country will decline. So, whether you’re in the supply chain or a consumer, deciding to make exclusively British buying decisions means that you are doing your bit to support a trade that is hundreds of years old and ensure that it can thrive.

© Irina Iriser

Making quality pieces built to last

To satisfy the demand for stylish pieces at lower prices, a lot of furniture is made overseas in factories that could be operating under working conditions that are less regulated and to a lower standard than in the UK. This cheap, low-quality furniture is also a large contributor to landfill waste as it breaks easily and has to be replaced more often. 

Last year, around 22 million items of furniture were sent to UK landfill sites, according to recent research from the North London Waste Authority (Wise Up To Waste). Plus, the cheap materials they’re made from also risk leaking pollutants back into the environment as they break down, so they continue to have an impact even after they’re thrown away. 

On the other hand, the UK has a culture of quality that’s known around the world. Our stricter manufacturing regulations mean that British furniture is more likely to be made from high-quality materials using techniques that deliver durable pieces. As a result, British-made furniture is designed to last, rather than as a disposable item to be replaced. Plus, we have a reputation for fair working conditions, so you can be sure pieces made in the UK are produced ethically.

And, because buying British means that consumers will likely be in close proximity to the manufacturer, it means that they can return for repairs further down the line. Not only does this provide an additional revenue stream (provided the service is offered), but it makes it much more convenient for repairs to be made for the consumer. 

This means pieces are much less likely to be disposed of, where they would contribute to landfill. Offering repairs locally also means that consumers don’t need to ship their furniture long distances, contributing to a larger carbon footprint.

These are just some of the environmental and ethical benefits of manufacturing your furniture right here in the UK. Sourcing responsible materials, reducing your carbon footprint and making high quality pieces can all help to reduce our impact on the environment and can help the British economy, too.