Guest blog: My New Neighbour

Photos by Primary Visuals

4 Reasons to Support Local

“Support local!” has been heartily caroled from the lips of many lately - from farmers markets to breweries to coffee roasters to furniture makers. But you might be wondering: what difference does it make when we go out of our way to support local with our purchases? Below are 4 reasons why supporting local makes a big difference in your community!

It Creates Local Jobs

According to REAP Calgary, local businesses spend 25% more of their income locally than big brand businesses. That means the money you spend on local businesses is more likely to be spent at other local businesses. If we all shifted just 10% of our purchases to local businesses we could create 31,000 new jobs and $940 million in new wages in one year.  For example, for every $10 million in revenue Amazon creates 14 new jobs and local independent businesses creates 110 new jobs. Supporting local is a sure fire way to strengthen the Canadian economy!

It Nourishes Community

When you spend your money at a local business, you nourish local creativity. You empower someone in your community to continue pursuing and growing in their passion, and you may even make a new friend! You can get to know the creative behind your purchase and enjoy their personalized expertise on the product.  Because local businesses are more likely to support other local businesses, supporting local helps creatives support each other too. That means communities are strengthened through mutual support. Local charities also see increases in donations because of this “support local” effect.

It Ensures Fair Labour Practices

Have you ever checked the tags on your clothes? You’ve probably seen countries like China, Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam listed as the place your clothes were made. Big box retailers outsource their labour to these countries knowing they can get away with super cheap production because of lax enforcement of safe and fair working conditions. Conditions commonly referred to as modern-day slavery. This leads to tragedies like the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in 2013 in Bangladesh. The collapse killed 1,134 and injured over 2,500 people who were making clothes for brands that you and me likely wear every day.

While there are a few companies who are stirring change in these countries by ensuring ethical production of their goods, another way to ensure ethical production is by purchasing things made locally. Because Canada’s working conditions are generally well monitored you have better assurance that the people making your clothes were treated fairly.

It Lowers Environmental Impact

Shopping locally decreases reliance on internationally imported goods. Transporting goods internationally has a big environmental impact, so reducing reliance on internationally shipped goods reduces the environmental impact of our purchases. According to REAP local businesses pollute 15 times less than non-local businesses.

So how can you support local?

  • Shop at local businesses. If you’re not sure if the business is locally owned, ask the store owner about their business - who owns it and where do they get their products from?
  • Look for “Made in Canada” on your tags, and if it’s made abroad ask the maker - “who made my clothes”? Local Laundry has taken the exciting step of switching to Canadian manufacturing of their products thanks to customer demand and increasing evidence that producing abroad is not ethical or environmentally sustainable.
  • Attend local markets and events where local creatives are selling their products - a few of our favourites are Market Collective, New Craft Coalition, and Inglewood Night Markets.

If the task of figuring out how to support local seems a bit daunting, you can also check out our blog:

My New Neighbour is a Calgary-based ethical lifestyle blog that was created as a resource to help Canadians locate and support ethical, Earth-friendly, and local businesses. It is run by three friends who want to take responsibility for the impact our purchases have on the maker, their community, and the environment. Supporting ethical companies means voting for a world that does not permit slavery in its supply chain, and a world that cares about sustaining this planet for generations of people and wildlife to come.

One of the most rewarding aspects of exclusively shopping ethically is the relationships we have built through supporting local makers. We have become inspired by the creativity, dedication, and inspiration shared by people in our community through their products and businesses. Local Laundry is an example of a company that has inspired us with their bold switch to Canadian manufacturing! So with hearty enthusiasm we say, “Support Local!!!”

Photos by Primary Visuals