Ready for a more sustainable supply chain? If you’re reflecting on your manufacturing process this Earth Day, there are some key questions to ask yourself to ensure your procurement process is as environmentally-friendly as possible.
While we all strive for more transparent and sustainable processes, it’s important to seek out progress - not perfection - on your path to doing better. There is always more to learn as we carve out a better supply chain.We’re lucky to be living in an era where consumers value sustainability more than ever, and that we can take shoppers with us on our journey to ensuring a better world for our makers, our communities, and the planet we all share.
With that in mind, here are a few factors to look for the products and materials involved in your supply chain. While not every product will fit every point on the list, it’s a good foundation for building a more ethical, transparent, and robust manufacturing process.
Does the product contain upcycled materials? This could include products made with deadstock, recycled plastic, or other materials that may otherwise have gone to waste. The sky’s the limit among the types of materials that can be upcycled - one of our makers crafts jewelry out of upcycled cow horn in Haiti!
Products made by hand are more likely to be sustainably made. These types of products don’t rely on intricate, energy-intensive manufacturing processes that could harm the environment, and they provide additional employment for talented makers.
Products that don’t cause any harm to animals along their sourcing and manufacturing process are a good move for the health of the planet. (And animal-loving consumers will be eager to shop for them!) Ensuring a product is cruelty-free usually requires extra research, all the way back to the very earliest sourcing of each individual ingredient for each material - but when it’s doable, it’s worth it.
If your product doesn’t contain any animal-derived materials, it could have as much as a41.5% smaller environmental footprint. Along the way, vegan products produced fewer greenhouse gas emissions and often drain on fewer natural resources.
When a portion of profits made from a product go to a quality, well-vetted charity organization, it plays a role in giving back. Many makers opt for organizations that directly benefit the community where the product is manufactured, but any quality cause is worthy of consideration.
Mission-driven products support the values of the business who makes them. Usually these types of products support goals surrounding social equality or environmental values. This can include initiatives like using a specific category of eco-friendly materials that gives back, or hiring members of a historically underrepresented group.
Hiring skilled makers to create products using traditional crafting techniques from their community is a great way to honor cultural legacies while creating employment. Providing makers with a safe, fairly paid work environment to put their expertise to use benefits both the community and the world around us.
Remember: it’s all about progress, not perfection. Every product you create that makes a difference takes us all one step closer to a more equitable and sustainable planet.
Curious about manufacturing sustainable and ethically sourced products with TO THE MARKET? Listen in to this interview with our COO for more details!