Bringing fair trade home
At well-lit we’re firm believers in doing the right thing. And we know our customers feel the same.
Ethical sourcing and fair trade is important to us, and we insist on decent pay and conditions for everyone working in our supply chain.
A lot of companies say the same things. But very few go to such lengths to turn company policy into everyday reality.
China is a popular manufacturing location for UK companies. But in order to cut costs to the bone, many factories have drawn in labour from impoverished communities in the countryside.
Shenzhen, until recently a market town of 30,000 people, was one of the fastest growing cities in the world in the 1990s to 2000s. It has been transformed into a city of factories, with as many as eight million inhabitants, and living conditions that range from eye-watering luxury to grinding poverty.
The lure of the cities deprived rural towns and villages of their most active and productive citizens. And once the workers arrived in the metropolis many faced unsafe working environments, low pay, and terrible living conditions.
Unfortunately for Shenzhen, the supply of cheap rural labour is now drying up. Almost everyone willing to travel long distances to find work has already done so. The shortage of workers has begun to push up manufacturing costs.
At well-lit our commitment to new ideas extends to every element of our business. So instead of taking workers to the factory, we’ve taken the factory to the workers.
Our flexible filament bulbs are made in a small town 300km west of Shanghai, and our glass and glass colouring suppliers are less than 5km away, helping reduce our carbon footprint at the source.
The workforce is almost exclusively local, so instead of paying for travel and living away from their families, they can pick their kids up from school, go home to cook dinner and sleep in their own beds.
With low employee turnover, less time is spent on recruitment and training, and local children can also look forward to well-paid jobs.
well-lit keeps a close eye on health and safety, and makes sure the workforce is paid a fair living wage – significantly higher than the average pay in the cities like Shenzhen, and far higher than most local wages.
And we don’t just put our money where our mouth is, we make regular trips to China to confirm that standards haven’t slipped.
Just one more reason to choose the nation’s favourite LED lighting supplier.
Well Lit are proud European Design Award winners and finalists of The Observer Ethical Awards