Buying local: it's not just about food!

buy local ecology

It is known that the consequence of globalization and international trade is that our stores are overflowing with products from far away, sometimes very far away, and often sold at affordable prices. We would even say at completely ridiculous prices: a t-shirt for $5! Have you ever thought about how this could be possible? Cultivate it or extract it, transform it, transport it, store it, sell it for only $5...

The Responsible Consumption Observatory , a consumer monitoring organization, published the 2016 Responsible Consumption Barometer . According to the latter, local consumption is a fairly stable practice, in slight progression, the index having increased from 69.1% in 2010 to 71.3% in 2016. However, among the first 25 elements favored by the Quebec population in local purchase, no clothing item appears.

The local character of a product is not the only argument that influences consumers. The notion of price is a sensitive element. This is also what emerged from a survey carried out by The Harris Poll for Yellow Pages in Canada. In 2016, 67% of respondents stated that higher prices are the main disadvantage of buying local. A difference as small as 5% would reduce by a third the number of Canadians wanting to shop locally.

But what are the arguments in favor of local products? In fact, there are many benefits to buying local! The numerous arguments involve global economic, social, environmental and sustainable aspects.

Regional economic development

By promoting local purchasing, the region's economy will certainly grow. Indeed, the more purchases increase, the more job creation will be promoted. Promoting local purchasing therefore allows for a redistribution of profits in the community through income to employees. It also allows new initiatives to develop: new stores, fairs, sponsorships...

Équiterre did a calculation for us. If all Quebec families replaced $20 per week of purchases of goods from outside with the same value of local purchases, it would seem that 100,000 jobs would be created in a single year.

Social aspects

social aspect buy local

By buying local, we have the privilege of being part of a community and of having privileged contact with the encouraged business. Although their marketing campaign wants us to believe it, it is not with a multinational that we will be able to develop this feeling of belonging!

A significant social aspect to consider results from the working conditions of all the workers assigned to a property. We all know about deplorable working conditions in some countries. In Canada, although it is still imperfect, workers are governed by working conditions that guarantee them a healthier environment and a more adequate salary.

Environmental impact

environmental impact

In general, when we talk about local purchasing, the environmental cost is mainly focused on the transport of imported goods. For example, a simple sweater could have traveled up to 9,000 km before ending up on its shelf in a store. While this situation is concerning, reducing transportation is not the only thing to consider.

Besides transportation, there is the impact of production to consider. Let’s just take the example of clothing dyeing. Here, although we live in an imperfect system, we have increasingly strict rules on the toxicity of the products used and on releases into the environment. This is not the case in several countries such as China and Bangladesh for example.

Quality and personalized service

impact of production, environment

You are just a few clicks away from being able to order an overseas property. However, it becomes important to understand that in most cases, when you make a local purchase, you are much more likely to have personalized service that will perfectly meet your needs. We tested it. We asked a few Chinese suppliers a question about the size of a garment. We had 50% response and of these responses we cannot say that they were all understandable or related to our initial question!

Buying local will allow you to be in contact with manufacturers and traders. This allows you to have a personalized service of course, but also to validate the quality of the products. If you purchase a good online from a local merchant and it does not suit you, you will have all the necessary latitude to return it to the merchant.

As you have noticed, buying local is part of the consumption habits of Quebecers and this trend will be confirmed more and more in the coming years. We invite you to be part of the movement by considering everything you can get your hands on. Food has been widely discussed in recent years. However, a multitude of other goods can be considered. This ranges from cleaning products, clothing and accessories, beauty products, games and toys...

There is no shortage of choices! Let's buy less but buy better!

Ecologically yours,

eco loco


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