Firms urged to cash in on ‘Made in Scotland’ label
A DISTINCT “Made in Scotland” label should be launched to market home-made goods to the growing middle classes in emerging markets such as China and India, a manufacturing conference will hear this week.
Bill Black, Scots-born senior vice president at Swiss engineering giant ABB, will float the idea at the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service’s (Smas’s) annual conference in Dunblane on Tuesday.
Black, who worked at British Aerospace at Prestwick for 15 years before joining Airbus-owner EADS and eventually ABB, will urge delegates to explore the opportunities in fast-growing emerging markets in places such as the Far East and South America.
He told Scotland on Sunday: “Products like champagne have done a great job of marketing themselves internationally because it can only be made in one part of France. The French “appellation d’origine contrôlée” system for butters, cheeses and wines is a great example of what we could do.”
Black added: “You can’t properly understand the sheer size of the growing middle classes in places like China and India unless you’ve been out there to visit these countries. They want foreign goods as a status symbol and so they’re already buying items made from Harris tweed for example.”
Some products currently sport more generic labels, such as “Made in the EU”.
Creating a distinct Scottish brand could help to emulate the success currently being enjoyed by Scotch whisky in emerging markets.
Big spirit producers such as Johnnie Walker-maker Diageo and Glenlivet-owner Pernod Ricard are posting their highest sales growth figures in Asia and South America, while smaller distilleries are also reaping the rewards.
Black will also call for the UK and Scottish governments to help increase the number of students studying engineering and science at college and university so that the UK can take advantage of the looming boom in renewable energy work.
He added that the current electricity market review must produce competitive feed-in tariffs so that investors can push the button on the next wave of tidal- and wave-power devices.
ABB is already operating in the renewable energy sphere having bought a stake in Edinburgh-based wave device developer Aquamarine Power in 2010.
ABB already employs about 2,200 people in the UK and Black expects that total to rise to 3,000 this year, including its headcount in Aberdeen’s oil and gas industry rising to 150 from 100.
About 50 of the group’s staff are working with Aquamarine in Edinburgh to help bring its technology to the market.
Other speakers at this week’s Smas event include Kirstin Mackie from ice-cream producer Mackie’s, Mark Laing of Nairn’s Oatcakes and Gilad Tiefenbrun from hi-fi maker Linn Products.
Smas director Nick Shields said: “We already have some industries successfully branding Scottish-produced products as such, for example in the food and drink and textiles industries.
“There could be other instances where consumers would welcome extra signposting to a product made in Scotland, and this would be an area that we’d explore with industry and sector trade bodies to ascertain where it would make most impact.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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