This month we have been reaching out to new potential resellers of our Natural Intimacy branded products as well as sending out samples of our new ECO packaging. As the new products and packaging were being scrutinised by our diligent peers they picked up on a small detail, a short line on the packaging of one of our new products.
Country of origin: Greece
Not so unusual but it appears on the packaging for our new ECO range of Caribbean Silk sea sponges. You don’t need to be an A+ student at Geography to know Greece isn’t in the Caribbean. So was it a typo? An error?
Actually no, it’s 100% correct.
“Country of Origin” is a massive legal universe which is scrutinised for exportation and customs tariffs. It’s easier to understand the position if you look at “aquaculture” and fishing. If a boat goes out in to the middle of the Atlantic to catch fish in international waters, what is the country of origin? Territorial waters only extend about 12 miles from the coast of a country and fish don’t carry passports.
Our sponges are harvested by divers on a Greek boat who land the harvest in Greece. Then the raw harvested sponges are then processed and cut in Greece so the exported product is a cut sponge, not a raw sponge, with the nature of the product having been significantly changed in Greece. So by any measure, the country of origin is Greece.
To talk of Caribbean sponges is more about the species. The Silk Sponge as a living organism has adapted to the warmer waters and faster currents of the Caribbean Sea, resulting in a sponge which is different to it’s counterpart living in the Mediterranean Sea.
A Cuban boat could harvest Mediterranean Silk sponges from the Mediterranean Sea and land them in Cuba but they would not become Caribbean sponges. Just the same as a Caribbean sponge doesn’t become Mediterranean just because it landed in Greece.
When you begin to lift the lid on Country of Origin issues you find some really interesting cases including some shockers like where electrical products listed as Made In Germany are actually just assembled there with all of the components coming from the China. And did anyone really think that English Tea came originated in England?
All interesting stuff and an useful insight for us as we continue to enhance our products and develop our packaging designs.