A recent survey conducted by Alexandra Workwear suggests UK shoppers prefer to purchase sustainable clothing sourced and manufactured locally.
In the survey, 1000 UK residents were asked how much weight they give to sustainable choices when shopping for clothing. And the results show a mixed future for one of the world’s leading brands of sustainable materials, Tencel fabric: UK shoppers would like to purchase it, but only if the brand sources its raw materials within the country.
The UK public wants to shop sustainably
The poll results show that some shoppers prioritise sustainability above all other factors, but the vast majority are happy to let clothing manufacturers lead the way.
76.4% of UK residents purchase clothing at least once a year, but only 7.1% of them prioritise environmentally friendly clothing when the onus is on them to shop eco-consciously. However, 63% of shoppers are concerned about clothing manufacturers’ impact on the environment, suggesting that UK shoppers believe clothing businesses should do more for the environment.
The consequence is that brands with a strong sustainable focus, like Tencel, are likely to build on their sales moving forward, as shoppers are likely to want what they have to offer.
Tencel’s problem with raw materials
While Tencel’s ethos of creating sustainable fibre for clothing and linen speaks to the heart of what UK shoppers want, the brand might also receive a pushback about where it sources its raw materials. According to the Alexandra survey, 43.2% of the British public are more likely to choose clothing made with locally sourced materials compared to 10.5% who are not.
Tencel fabric is a type of fibre made from the wood pulp of sustainably sourced and managed beech and eucalyptus trees. So while Tencel has a factory within the UK, the central issue for the brand is the eucalyptus trees it’s made from are sourced in Australia. Unfortunately, this means Tencel cannot claim to be locally sourced.
The poll results are likely due to a mix of concerns about carbon emissions during product manufacturing and the pride of purchasing something made in Britain. As the latter is such an emotive issue, it could put some people off choosing Tencel over a rival sustainable, UK-made brand.
Tencel is a brand that’s likely to continue to do well in the UK because it’s one of the largest genuinely sustainable clothing fibre options during a time when people believe manufacturers should do more to be eco-friendly. However, by not using raw materials sourced locally to the UK, it’s a brand that time and British-sourced rivals might not be kind to.
You can view the full Alexandra ethical workwear survey results here.