Consumers today have many choices when shopping for products and looking for quality services, so they might not consider supporting local businesses. How does supporting small businesses help the environment and local economies? It’s a question worth looking into.
There are environmental, economic, and community-based benefits to supporting local companies, especially eco-friendly businesses. We’ll examine how small businesses make an honest difference in their communities. You’ll discover solid tips you can use to support independent business owners hoping to thrive in your community.
Why Support Local Businesses? Here Are 9 Reasons
Shopping locally is nothing new. In fact, over 54% of Americans shop at a local store at least once a month. Moreover, 70% of consumers shop locally to improve their local economy. With these numbers in mind, let’s examine nine reasons why shopping locally can be beneficial:
1. Reduced Transportation Miles
Many products you purchase at grocery stores must be shipped and transported hundreds of miles to reach store shelves. This excessive transportation results in high levels of carbon emissions, especially transporting food via air, which produces 50 times the greenhouse gasses as transporting the same amount by sea.
When you shop at a local vendor, you make selections that don’t have to be transported hundreds of miles via trucks or planes. In other words, you’re cutting transportation-related fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
2. Local Animal Preservation
Purchasing from local businesses like farmers is more sustainable and benefits animals. How so? Local farmers are more likely to allow livestock and other animals on their farms to flourish without harm. Supporting local farmers ensures their operations remain intact.
If farmers lose their business, they may have to sell their land to developers. In most cases, developers will repurpose the land for commercial or industrial use. Redevelopment disrupts the animals already living there, affecting the ecology.
3. Fresh and Healthy Produce
Food accounts for 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions and is a significant part of your carbon footprint. Fortunately, you can minimize your environmental impact by seeking fresh produce from local vendors who may avoid post-farm processing and don’t have to transport the food as far for distribution. You can also find locally-sourced food that’s nutritious and without toxins such as pesticides.
With less processing, local food lets you avoid high levels of sugar, salt, and fat. It’s a win for the environment and your health. Check out our eco-friendly shopping guide to learn more about sustainable shopping.
4. Food Waste Reduction
No one wants to see quality food go to waste. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report found that food loss accounts for “eight percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.” Large retailers overstock their shelves and risk having their items go to waste. On the other hand, local farmers sell food directly to consumers, eliminating the need to overstock.
5. Increased Job Opportunities
How does supporting Local businesses help the economy? Small businesses can expand and provide new job opportunities when you shop locally. Additionally, higher demand for local services means more money pumped into the local community, stimulating job growth.
Businesses can also use the extra cash to strengthen their workforce and keep the regional economy circulating with high consumer demand.
6. Quality Offers
Why buy local products? Have you ever considered the quality of products offered by regional vendors and if they differ from national companies? If so, you should know that local businesses are more invested in the quality of their offers than national competitors. Why?
Because local companies depend on the needs of their community to thrive—meaning they must find new and innovative solutions to keep their operations afloat. More importantly, local companies understand their customers, making it easier to identify their needs, desires, and expectations.
7. Community Involvement
It’s common for small businesses to get involved in their communities by supporting organizations and charities working to advance local causes. “Small businesses donate 250% more to local non-profits than large companies.
Supporting local companies working to make an honest difference in their community strengthens community ties and promotes civic duty among fellow residents. You can also find businesses advocating for environmentally-friendly solutions in your community.
8. Local Economy Stimulation
When you shop locally, you ensure your tax dollars support local government initiatives. Taxes add up to more than 60% of a local government’s local revenue (funding that doesn’t come from the state or federal government). Why is this important? Because local governments can use those funds to invest in their communities.
Governments can invest in higher education, healthcare services, transportation, and public assistance programs, to name a few benefits. In short, your local spending habits fund the programs your community needs to thrive.
9. Green Initiatives
Local enterprises are switching to renewable and environmentally-friendly solutions for their operations. According to an SME Climate Hub survey, 60% of surveyed businesses have plans in place to cut their carbon impact.
So how do small businesses make a dent in their environmental impact? They do so by:
- Recycling and composting
- Pursuing energy-efficient electronics
- Donating to eco-friendly organizations
- Conducting energy audits
- Sourcing local materials
Check out our guide on business sustainability practices to learn more about how businesses take the initiative to go green.
Five Ways You Can Support Local Businesses
Understanding how local businesses preserve the environment and help local economies flourish is not enough. You must also do your part by supporting them. How can you support your friendly neighborhood business? Here are five ways to get started:
- Shop locally: There’s no surprise here. The next time you’re tempted to purchase something through an e-commerce website or a large corporation, check to see if an independent retailer offers what you need. Local business owners will indeed thank you.
- Use social media: Use the power of marketing to spread the word about your favorite retailer or local shop. You can tweet, leave positive reviews, and share thoughtful posts about the services you received. Don’t forget to tag the businesses you’re promoting to increase their brand awareness.
- Purchase their gift cards: The revenue generated from gift cards can help small businesses thrive in a competitive market. The next time you see these cards on display, consider lending a helping hand by purchasing one.
- Donate money: When times are tough, it’s difficult for small business owners to keep their services intact. If you can, consider donating money to keep them from closing down permanently.
- Attend local business events: Many small businesses hold events to teach locals about their industries, so check them out when you can. You’ll be showing your support for their services and equipping yourself with industry-leading knowledge.
Go Green by Enrolling in Kiwi Energy Plans
How does supporting small businesses help the environment? By supporting regional business owners, we can advocate for environmentally-friendly solutions, reduce unnecessary waste, and establish a community that values a climate-friendly world. Supporting local companies is the first step in promoting sustainable living in your community.
Kiwi Energy is leading the way in providing energy solutions that promote a sustainable world. If you want to do your part, you can advocate for a habitable future by enrolling in our energy plans today.
Do you have questions or concerns about our offers? Contact our customer service team for assistance.