It’s a wet humid day and I find myself standing in the main plaza of the Canton Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou, a trip that was not planned.
The story starts back on June 23rd 2016, a memorable date for all, yes, the day the UK voted to leave the EU.
At the time we were growing well, had a stable EU based supply base (plus some glass from Turkey) and were working hard on our closed loop recyclable Injection moulded PET development.
That’s when our first piece of cheese moved, no point in being Hem and Haw... we needed to ensure that we had a Brexit strategy.
As I write (May 2018) we are on track to open our first Aegg-owned UK factory. The decision to open our first Aegg owned factory was taken shortly after the Brexit vote. By the end of 2018, as one of our EU customers says, “we will have one leg on the mainland and one leg on the island!”
At Aegg we are conscious that there is a need for more plastic to be recycled, this is why we have spent so much time and money on our PET development. Whilst it’s not cheap, it is now possible and we are beginning to build a range for our customers.
Late December 2017 Blue Planet illustrated to the world the effect that plastic has been having on the sea. Of course, the sea is a dumping ground for much more than plastics, however, as humans we have a responsibility of being more responsible for our planet.
We at Aegg know that we need to research a larger range of eco friendly packaging, possibly some wood / corn starch / paper or Bagasse based products on top of our recyclable plastic offering, and our glass ramekin and soon-to-be-released glass tableware range for food manufacturers. Hence the reason I am spending time wandering the aisles, some like a middle eastern souk, some like a large grand plaza at the Canton Fair in China, researching more about this subject, chatting to potential factories and their methods. I am immediately struck by the fact that the whole world seems to be here…
My conversations normally start with…
“What ethical standards do you have?”
Many look at me blankly…
“Sedex, Smeta, BSCI?” I say
Another blank look…
“BRC, any ISO standards?” I continue
If I still get a blank look, I thank them for their time and move on.
On one occasion, as I moved away, the sales lady shouted at me, “we export to UK, we have no accreditations, but we are the cheapest!” I didn’t ask who to, perhaps I should have. Price is not the key driver for us!
China is full of some fantastic factories, however, there are still many who have yet to develop any credible standards; some are willing to work towards standards; some simply aren’t!
Saying that, there are many companies that offer a whole plethora of standards. Having spent 2 days “blitzing” the fair, I then spent a further 2 days having more substantive conversations with possible suppliers, many of whom already have BRC, Sedex and many ISO levels.
So I leave my unplanned trip with a head full of ideas, I now need to discuss all of these opportunities at the next imminent board meeting.
Give me some feedback... what would you like to see from Aegg?
Watch this space!
(The title ‘Who Moved Our Cheese??’ is inspired by the business book ‘Who moved My Cheese?’ by Dr John Spencer)