Advertise Your Sustainability
By Dan Michels, Boulder, Colorado
There a number of American companies that specialize in custom made woodwork and furniture. Many also claim to use sustainable and eco-friendly production practices. Businesses that actually do operate sustainably and use only local American materials should advertise this fact openly and proudly, but they should also supply evidence on their websites and in their literature. For example, a Vermont-based woodworking company explicitly states its social and environmental missions such as its “Plant a Billion Trees” and “Save the Tiger” campaigns, as well as its support of other environmentally oriented companies and causes such as the Rainforest Alliance, The Ocean Conservancy, and the Nature Conservancy. Their furniture is 100% American made and they pride themselves in the environmentally sensitive way they practice their business. The information and details are easy to find on their website.
In a time of economic uncertainty and recession, supporting local, American businesses has become all the more important. Outsourcing has understandably become a divisive and important political hot button. Opportunities to implement local labor and materials in order to create jobs and lower transportation costs are as important to the timber and furniture industries as any others. According to the the Vermont-based company, “Sourcing hardwoods locally grown and harvested provides incomes to tree farmers, loggers, sawmill operators, transportation companies, and numerous other regional service industries. In a time where many products’ sources are unknown or imported, it is nice to know we all have the option to support small domestic economies.”
A woodworking company in Minnesota who claims to make “fine custom wood products,” professes to be an “eco-friendly business”. However, they have no information on their website supporting this claim, not once revealing the source of their wood. If this company is indeed eco-friendly, highlighting the claim should be a top priority for their marketing and advertising departments. Information supporting this claim should be readily available to every customer.
Transparency is becoming more and more important with the environmentally-minded community. Providing this sort of information will only help a business and is becoming highly sought after by consumers. Diane Sawyer of ABC World News recently produced a series called “Made in America – Where Do Your Goods Come From?” where she explores this issue. You might just be surprised, many of the products you think are American-made, are not.
Companies should overtly state the benefits of buying locally American made products and must reinforce this message with cold, hard facts about their production practices. Robin Wade Furniture does just this. They pride themselves in custom woodwork and place sustainability and eco-friendly business practices as a foundation for their mission. All this information is proudly made readily available and is easy for consumers to access - the way it should be.