Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lily Inspiration: The Benefits of Buying Local

Victoria, B.C. is a small city that I believe is Green at Heart. 46% of Victoria residents take the bus, walk or ride a bike for their daily commute, and we all live in neighbourhoods that are focused on creating sustainable communities. I think people in Victoria believe shopping locally is a positive choice they can make with tangible benefits for themselves and their city.

Whether it's groceries or accessories, buying from a local source vs. a national (or international) chain makes an impact on greenhouse gases and carbon emissions when examining the true cost of shipping. Also, where an item is manufactured can have a smaller environmental footprint depending on the energy resources consumed in the process. Here in B.C., 86% of our electricity comes from hydroelectric dams, with the remainder powered by natural gas, both of which produce far fewer detrimental emissions than coal burning power plants.

A major benefit to any community is economic sustainability. Local producers and retailers create local jobs and quite often choose to shop locally themselves, helping to support other businesses and investing in community projects that national chains might overlook.

However, I think the most tangible benefit for customers is choice. Local businesses are able to listen to and cater to their customers' requests and provide diversity in an otherwise homogeneous market. Here at Smoking Lily we keep a Request List handy for items we don't have at the moment, and are able to accommodate variations in our products that national chains can't offer. Also, because we care about the quality of our products, we offer a one-year repair policy on everything we make (and we're often able to repair our older products that have seen better days for a nominal cost!). All in all, shopping local is a wonderful way to support your community and environment and get something for yourself that you can't get from the big shops.

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