Local Sourcing Reduces Carbon Emissions

Local Sourcing Reduces Carbon Emissions

How Does Local Sourcing Reduce Carbon Emissions?

By Beth Rush


A supermarket should look to local farmers for its produce section. The resident spa should seek nearby apothecaries or artisans for lotions and beauty products. Why is this important?

Sourcing products close to home is a massive win for the planet and your community because it boosts a green, ethical economy while lowering carbon emissions. How much does picking a supplier 10 miles away versus 1,000 make such a difference in achieving climate goals?



A primary benefit is how sourcing local materials reduces transportation emissions. When discussing transportation, many recall the concept of carbon miles. The idea should remind businesses and consumers how many greenhouse gases go into the atmosphere to get products from one place to another. 

The shorter that distance is, the less strain it puts on automobiles and the less fuel it requires. Making cars last longer means fewer mechanical parts go to landfills and fewer hazardous chemicals seep into soil and waterways.

Transportation accounts for around 29% of emissions in the U.S., and medium- and heavy-duty trucks account for 23% of the total. Boats, trains, aircraft and light-duty vehicles are also to blame for high emissions when it comes to sourcing. They emit pollutants, produce waste, and damage habitats. Picking lower-emissions options and eliminating the need for larger fleets lowers carbon footprints significantly.

Raw Material Control


Companies that get products from supply chains thousands of miles away have more external influences that could disrupt operations. Additionally, a local business can’t always verify if their supplier’s method of obtaining raw materials aligns with their environmental values. Processing extracted metals and minerals accounts for 26% of global emissions. 

Some third-party suppliers extract from underserved regions or exploit workers, deepening the social inequities caused by a worsening climate.

For example, a small shop crafting clothes could purchase reams of fabric from international suppliers, but they might abuse agriculture or biodiversity to dye them specific colors. Local sourcing from a nearby expert would ensure kinder conditions, as shops could support nearby vendors and develop connections within their area. 

The customer base senses when professionals support others. Looking within a city’s boundaries keeps materials regulated and consistent, with a higher likelihood of focusing on what’s native. Plus, residents are more likely to know the quality and capability of their region to produce specific items, allowing them to have more knowledge about what they put on shelves.

Being under the same local regulations is another benefit of raw material control. If the community advocates for more substantial recycling, sourcing locally means getting products from places that dispose of waste responsibly. A sustainable sourcing and manufacturing process could recover 95% of waste, making its life cycle more circular.



Supply chain management has been volatile for a while, and ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been even more challenging for agencies to get what they want when they want it. If you own a store and want more control over supplies, sourcing locally dissolves countless issues megacorporations have with procuring stocks.

It takes less time for products to get to you, and you can go there physically if there are issues to see how you can assist.

For example, you might own a small organic food market and realize your recent order is missing a specific produce item. You can go to the farmer directly and speak with them to fix things, and you would also be aware of regional and climate influences impacting growth. 

Perhaps the growing season was shorter that year, hindering yields. An invasive species may have affected the area, which raises your awareness of potential issues. Having more agency over logistics means you’ll have more informed, communicative insights to build safeguards in the future.

Additionally, you’ll be in more control over how the supply chain and procurement process handles their environmental responsibility for reduced carbon emissions.

Community Mindsets


The views of a community’s businesses often reflect the values of those who live there. Why else would an organization break ground there if owners didn’t think residents cared about their product or service and how they made it? 

One entity can improve other companies’ mindsets with collaboration. You might suggest one removes plastic packaging and substitutes it for a recyclable, cheaper alternative. You could spread the word about a local supplier to give it more support and improve its reputation.

Making other stores more sustainable reduces carbon footprints. Additionally, the companies within a city influence its citizens, and choosing to source locally could have a lasting impact on its people. When local sellers reduce their carbon emissions, they inform their customers.

This may inspire communities to reduce their footprints as well. Motivating consumers and employees may be the most long-standing way to reduce the region’s emissions over time. Neighbors realize how much of a priority it is, and the mindset and dedication to sourcing locally evolves into further environmental advocacy. 

How Does Using Local Suppliers Help the Environment?


Local sourcing is essential for neighborhoods and cities of all sizes to decarbonize. It could include keeping tabs on how companies source their products or leveraging renewable energy and electrifying transportation.

No matter the aspirations, it is better for the planet to collaborate with those who are nearby. It fosters community and collaboration, which are necessary for reversing the climate crisis.

About the Author: Beth Rush is the green wellness editor at Body+Mind. She has more than five years of experience writing and editing articles covering topics like sustainable transit and the importance of green spaces in urban planning. You can find Beth on Twitter @bodymindmag.

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