blog ethics britishwool
At the British Wool depot, Bradford, Yorkshire

As a producer of clothing using natural locally produced fibres such as 100% British wool, Harris Tweed and British sheepskin, ethical business practices have formed an important part of what makes Glencroft who we are, and are what have kept us in business for well over 30 years now.

Indeed, ethical business practices have been core to our longevity but we never operated in this way just for the bottom line, it’s just how we believed we should do business.

It’s difficult to imagine us being where we are now, 30 years after we started the business, had we been making jumpers with cheap labour in the far east. We just wouldn’t be seen in the same light or have the same heritage to look back on.

So, as we look ahead to the next decade in business, we remain absolutely committed to making it our most ethical yet.

Some of our manufacturing processes

But why?

Operating ethically has allowed us to develop the trust of the people with whom we do business – both from the shops we have supplied as well as with our customers, many of whom have become more ethically aware of the impact that fast fashion can have on our planet.

By having a sustainable approach to fashion, using natural fibres from the UK and recycling and reusing materials, we differentiate ourselves from our fashion competitors, some of whom use foreign imports and deploy far less ethical practices and manufacturing processes.

This is where smaller businesses like Glencroft, who proactively choose to operate more ethically, can sometimes lose out.

It isn’t unusual for us to be undercut on price through the use of lower quality materials and cheaper labour, but we don’t mind because this inevitably leads to comprised quality in favour of better margins, and that is not part of our brand values.

In our view, this is a short term gain for fast fashion and whilst we may not make the same level of margins on our products, we know that what we make is of the highest quality, made to last, whilst being responsibly sourced and manufactured.

We’re always looking for more ways in which to improve on this approach – from ensuring that our employees are paid a fair wage, using responsibly sourced materials such as British Wool or sustainable fibre alliance cashmere, reducing product miles by making locally, to recycling materials wherever possible, such as with the sheepskin rug offcuts we use to make the ‘bobbles’ on our knitted beanies.

As we broach the current decade, the way in which we do business will be something which we will continue to evolve, with ethical business practices at the heart of what we do as we continue to seek ways in which to reduce our impact on the environment.

With this in mind, we continue to invest in changes to our packaging, product and processes to make 2020 our most sustainable yet. This includes:

  • A switch to paper mailing bags.
  • Replacing wool blend tweed hats with 100% Yorkshire made wool tweed.
  • Removing plastic packaging or replacing with paper and card.
  • Increased office recycling and recyclable paper sticky tape.
  • Investigating and hopefully switching to natural and recycled materials in our product labelling.
  • Continuing to work with the local community through our village website, business group and newsletter, and charities including the Yorkshire Dales National Park (more to follow later in the year).

We look forward to keeping you abreast of all our progress, which you can monitor on our blog and social media.