Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Australia Washing

You’ve heart of white-washing and green-washing, well there’s another practice springing up which sets out to make something appear other than it really is.

We’re calling it “Australia-washing” – the practice of making something appear as though it was made in Australia, when in fact only one component had anything to do with Australia.

That component can be as simple as the adding of a label in Australia that was made more cheaply overseas.

In the case of the bedding industry, even though we grow a lot of cotton and wool here, most of it is now made in China.

That is a fact that most if not all importers want to conceal, so the tendency is to use the word Australia liberally in advertising campaigns and make no mention of China.

We regularly get calls from customers asking why our wool quilts are so dear, when they can buy 2 for under $100, as frequently promoted on TV. When we explain that the quilts they mention are made in China, they invariably protest that, no, the quilts are made in Australia.

The advertising campaign talks about Australian over and over again, so that such a strong image is created in the consumers mind that they don’t question where the product was made.
It’s a bizarre situation. We ship massive amounts of wool to China, where it is mass-produced with cheap labour and returned to Australia for sale. That’s a lot of shipping and it’s a lot of work denied Australian industry in the interests of cheaper price.

Globalisation is increasingly being seen as a tragic failure that lies at the core of the decay of our civilization.

It robs us of our sense of and commitment to community, and ultimately it benefits only those who do business that way.

Next time you seen an advertising campaign sprooking about Australia this and Australia that, perhaps take a moment to reflect on what really is being sold.

Please consider also that there are probably no controls over the quality or chemical content of the product being flogged off so cheaply.

In the case of our wool bedding products, yes, they are more expensive than most. That is because they are fully certified organic products, not just claiming to use organic cotton or wool, and the costs of meeting those standards are very high.

In fact, no other business in the world has ever gone to those lengths to ensure absolute purity and respect for our environment.

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