What does “Re-shoring” do for the Circular Economy and CSR?
“Re-shoring” is a growing business trend – bringing offshore manufacturing and services back from low wage “developing countries” to so-called “developed countries”. According to the Guardian, businesses as disparate as Aston Martin, Pot Noodle and kiddy-suitcase maker Trunki are re-relocating their manufacturing back in Blighty driven by rising wages in the Far East and rocketing shipping costs (presumably a result of stubbornly high oil prices).
This is clearly a good thing for the Circular Economy as goods will be consumed and ‘disposed of’ closer to the site of their manufacture, shrinking material loops. Quality of materials can also be better managed if the purchaser of the materials can intervene easily in the supply chain. Circular business models including leasing, remanufacturing and industrial symbiosis (one person’s waste = another’s raw material) all work better when manufacturers are located closer together.
There are clear CSR benefits too – we have seen in the recent horse meat scandal how difficult it is to manage complex international supply chains. Shorter supply chains mean more transparency, less opportunity for criminality and, for the EU at least, better working conditions.
And there are economic benefits to boot – an opportunity for unbalanced economies like the UK to rebalance away from the debt-driven financial and construction sectors that gave us the colossal boom and bust that we still haven’t escaped.
Reshoring – a boring sounding word that I’m growing rather fond of!