While Earth Day only comes once a year, here at Authenticity50 we strive everyday to contribute to taking care of our planet. There are many reasons to support American manufacturing, but one you may not immediately think of is the fact that a streamlined local supply chain is much better for the environment versus anything produced abroad.
In this day and age of online shopping, remember that the American-made product you purchase not only supports our small towns, local communities, and skilled textile workforce, it also minimizes the carbon footprint on Earth. In this blog post, we’ve rounded up the top three reasons why buying American-made is one of the best ways to reduce your personal environmental impact:
Photo: Public Domain
1. Reduced Global Pollution
The first most notable environmental benefit of shopping local and American-made is also one of the most overlooked aspects of global trade: Excessive transportation emissions caused by international cargo ships. It is estimated that just one cargo ship amounts to the same annual carbon emissions as 50 million vehicles. Since roughly 9 out of 10 products purchased by American households are manufactured overseas, and brought over via large container ships, this is a major environmental issue. And one that most people are unaware of! According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), cargo ship emissions account for nearly 3% of the world's total annual emissions, and expected to rise by 50-250% by 2050 if left unregulated.
Even more unnecessary carbon emissions are produced within the textile industry specifically. The US is the 2nd largest producer of cotton, after India.) For companies using foreign cotton (or even American-grown cotton that is processed abroad), there is an extensive transportation process spanning the world. First, the cotton is harvested, transported via freight to a port, and then shipped overseas thousands of miles via container ship for production. It is then transported via freight while overseas, to mills and factories for production. The finished textiles are transported yet again to a port where they are shipped thousands of miles back to the US on another container ship - an extensive transportation process that happens before the product even reaches a distribution warehouse.
With Authenticity50 products being made 100% in the USA from Seed-to-Stitch®, the local supply chain results in significantly reduced emissions and pollution. All of the growing, harvesting, production and finishing is done here in America - with the manufacturing process spanning a radius of just a few hundred miles.
Graph by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
2. Reduced Energy Emissions
The second area to consider when comparing the environmental benefits of American-made products is the source of energy powering warehouses, mills, and factories that are manufacturing our products. While the United States once relied heavily on coal for power, investments in cleaner energy have been paying off; American dependence on fossil fuels for energy has been declining in recent years. According to the World Bank Group, 67% of energy in the United States is still produced by fossil fuels, but that is in notable contrast to 73% in China, and over 80% in Mexico, America's 2nd largest importer of goods.
Fossil fuels are the worst contributors of carbon emissions. Going back to the environmental regulations the federal and state governments have in place, US coal and natural gas power plants are subject to tighter restrictions on reducing and cleaning carbon emissions, further minimizing the environmental impact of American-made goods. According to a Forbes analysis of new research, if the USA continues to reduce fossil fuel dependency by seeking out alternative energy sources, by 2035 energy emissions will significantly decrease up to 27%.
Furthermore, American manufacturing companies across all sectors are seeking out ways to create premium products while also manufacturing in an environmentally-friendly way. From investing in eco-friendly and recycled packaging, to keeping the unboxing experience and presentation simple yet impactful (eliminating wasteful gift wrapping materials such as fancy boxes and ribbons), we at Authenticity50 are trying to reduce our energy emissions and carbon footprint.
Authenticity50 Signature Sheets being sewn in South Carolina
3. Stricter Federal & State Regulations
The final reason our entirely-American based supply chain is better for the environment is that US manufacturers are held to higher environmental regulations than most foreign manufacturers. Regulations typically restrict carbon emissions, ensure proper chemical management and require appropriate waste disposal. Some manufacturers (like our fabric weavers) strive to go beyond the minimum requirements, and have taken actionable steps to ensure that they are producing products in a responsible manner.
Most states have their own environmental regulations and the federal government also has minimum guidelines and regulations it enforces through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This results in safer working conditions for workers and reduced environmental impacts.
In 2011, China overtook the United States as the world's largest manufacturing nation. To this day, China has maintained its 13-year record as the United States' largest trading partner. With $452 Billion China-made goods imported into the US in 2019 alone, it's important to consider what type of environmental regulations Chinese manufacturers are held to. These current regulations put China about 50 years behind the US.
Other Ways Authenticity50 is Better for the Environment…
All of our bedding and bath goods are crafted 100% in the USA from Seed-to-Stitch®. This means we are able to support small towns, communities and hard-working Americans at every step. When we began A50 in 2015, we made it a priority to minimize chemicals in our production process - creating healthier products for our customers and limiting the impact of our manufacturing on the environment. We use biodegradable materials for our shipping boxes and recyclable mailing sleeves. We also repurpose or donate the majority of our returns to encourage renewal and reuse, and prevent them from ending up in landfills.
No company is perfect when it comes to sustainability, and we are always looking for new ways to minimize environmental impacts of our business and supply chain. We love hearing from our customers about this issue and others – if you have a comment, question, or idea, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team by clicking HERE. Thank you for taking the time to read this post!