Although climate reports continue to relay bad news about the constant threat of climate change, there remains an ever-growing interest among the population in making personal changes and environmentally-friendly choices. Consistently supporting small businesses is one way to demonstrate you care about sustainability and the future of our planet.
Small business owners tend to invest a lot of time, effort and research into the products they make or curate. As such, they take great care to avoid stocking mass-produced items that are, in many cases, made to be sold rather than made to last. In recent years, one phrase that’s become popular among small business owners - especially those who make handcrafted goods - is “small batches”. Rather than manufacture thousands of copies of a single item, small business owners produce their products in small batches, which dramatically reduces waste.
Customers seem to genuinely appreciate how easy small businesses make it for them to express that they care. A customer shopping for a necklace, for example, could easily elect to purchase said piece of jewelry at a large box - store. Instead, they recognize that the environmentally-friendly choice is to purchase from a small business that chooses to sustainably source their materials. Some small businesses even go so far as to donate a portion of their profits to environmental organizations working to defend our planet’s species, natural resources and more. In fact, according to Sustainable Connections (check out their website at www.sustainableconnections.org), “small businesses donate almost 2.5 times more per employee to local charitable causes than large, national competitors.” So even if you find yourself paying just a little bit more for products, you can feel confident that you’re supporting people who care as much as you do, and who make a point to actively invest in our environment.
Small business owners - whether they operate exclusively online or within a brick-and-mortar location in your community - usually do everything they can to support their fellow small business owners. For instance, this means that the woman who specializes in making goat soap purchases her goat milk not from a large retailer, but rather from the local farmer and his family. This means she’s not traveling miles upon miles to secure a key ingredient, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
Similarly, small business owners who must ship their items across the country typically put a lot of thought into their packaging materials. Because of this, you’re likely to find that they’ve selected materials that can be recycled. Examples of this include cardboard and biodegradable packing peanuts, which are made of corn starch. In addition, some small business owners ship their products using carbon offset or carbon neutral shipping. This means the business owner has agreed to pay an extra fee associated with the shipment in order to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from the delivery vehicle.
Shopping at small, independently-owned businesses also sets a good example for future generations. If your children or grandchildren want to know why you’re purchasing a product at one shop versus another, it provides an opportunity to explain why you made the decision and how it was made with the environment in mind. It’s amazing how quickly children are inspired to model your behavior, as well as express their own interest in an environmentally friendly lifestyle. If we can instill our love and concern for the planet in future generations, it’s safe to assume they will be more likely to join the cause sooner rather than later.
At Oaktree, we take our responsibility and commitment to the environment seriously. That’s why we are dedicated to curating and manufacturing products made from sustainably sourced materials as much as possible. Beyond that, we are constantly pursuing new ways to reuse and recycle our materials. It’s true that climate reports are alarming, but as small business owners we vow to continue to do everything we can to educate and encourage our customers to join us in the green movement.
By working together, demanding change and making responsible choices, we can make a difference. So, let’s do it. If we all play our part, we have a chance to defend our planet from further harm.