As the business landscape works to recover in the midst of new COVID-19 variants and other continual effects of this global pandemic, buying from American made manufacturers can help stimulate the economic rebound. But not only could this benefit the economy—it can lead to positive gains for the environment as well.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reveals that importing consumer products from other countries can increase overall land, air, and sea pollution. Since these transportation methods use high volumes of petroleum based fuel, international trade can exacerbate chemical emissions—a main factor in the global climate crisis, the EPA continues.
Of course, there are economic advantages to international trade, especially as a means to help boost the GDP of developing nations. But when you consider the many environmental effects of transporting products over such a long distance, it can often be a more sustainable option to buy American made. So here are just a few important qualities to be on the lookout for in the American made manufacturers and products you choose to support.
Check for an Official “Made in the USA” Label.
This might sound obvious, but to know for sure an item you are purchasing is American made, it must feature a “Made in the USA” label. This certifies all materials used to make the product are of United States origin, and it was manufactured by United States workers in a United States facility. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) set forth this criteria, and products that come close but do not entirely meet the requirement are usually labeled with, “Assembled in the USA” or “Made in the USA from Domestic and Foreign Parts.”
Pay Attention to Eco-Friendly Business Practices.
Just because a product is technically American made will not guarantee it was created with the environment in mind. So before you make a purchasing decision, research how the company manufactures each product to ensure this business is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint as much as possible. For instance, does the company use sustainable production and packing materials, work with eco-conscious vendors, practice renewable energy solutions, and curb emissions in the supply chain and other daily operations?
Be Sure There Is Fair Treatment and Compensation.
In addition to buying American made, it is crucial to look for union made products as well. This indicates the workers who actually manufactured the item you are about to purchase have been equitably compensated for their labor, respected for the value of their contributions, and able to work under safe conditions with access to fair employee benefits. In other words, buying union made products is a meaningful way to help protect the rights and job security of local workers, while investing in businesses who care about employees.
Support an Ethical Mission and Strong Core Values.
As a consumer, you can leverage the power of a dollar to influence companies to align their values with your own. How exactly does this work? By choosing to support businesses that prioritize social responsibility, advocate for important causes, take an active role in their communities, and intentionally live out their mission statements, you are also telling business owners to continue these ethical practices in order to retain you as a customer. So make sure that a company’s core values reflect what matters to you.
Buy American Made to Help Reduce the Effects of Climate Change.
While it can seem like just a small or minor action to take, buying American made products from ethical and sustainable manufacturers could help combat the harmful impact of climate change. International trade, of course, has its place in the economy, but the land, air, and sea pollution from chemical transport emissions also must not be ignored.
Each person has a crucial role to play in working to protect the environment and minimize their carbon footprint, so use your spending power to do this. When you purchase an American made item from a business that follows eco-friendly practices and initiatives, you can contribute to positive strides in this climate crisis fight.
And if the business is owned by a woman or a person of color—well, that is even better. Supporting U.S. entrepreneurs from diverse or marginalized backgrounds will help to create more equity in American commerce overall. So next time you need to make a purchase, be intentional about who the manufacturer is and where the product comes from. How you spend those dollars can ultimately make a difference.