- 26 Mar 2012
Guest Blog: The Importance of Local Trading
Now more than ever, local businesses and their customers need to work together to help tackle the nation’s deficit at a local, actionable level. Although grass-roots activity may seem small in the context of global macroeconomics, it can help to create a step change across the nation when individuals and communities start to focus on buying local and supporting local trade, rather than buying foreign imports.
Local Trade – the Benefits
Supporting local trade has many benefits. It helps to prop up businesses within an area and keeps money flowing within domestic economies. It means that products have a lower carbon footprint and that items are traceable to their origins.
In the case of food production, buying local means fresher, cheaper and often more nutritious food. Local trade within many regions can reduce the need for foreign imports and cut the country’s spend abroad. Local businesses have as much a role as local individuals. They can purchase their raw goods and component materials from local wholesalers and use local staff and trading partners, for example.
This activity helps to support sustainable business models, which don’t cut off the business world or shun business finance from external sources, but make use of local resources in a sustainable way. This can lead to an investment in local people through staffing at fair wages.
Consumer action can play a powerful role in this trend – especially if a ‘buy-local’ policy is promoted and adopted within a particular geographical region. Schemes are in place across many regions worldwide and the benefits are often undeniable.
Some UK towns, such as Bristol and Brixton, have taken this policy one step further with the introduction of a local currency – essentially a voucher worth the equivalent in Sterling and used to buy goods from independent retailers within the town. Retailers in turn are encouraged to use this currency to pay for their stock and services, thus keeping the money circulating.
With minimal local marketing and advertising, combined with support from local PR sources such as trade press and regional media, consumer groups and businesses can come together to positively influence trading patterns. They can ensure that more commerce remains local, boosting the domestic economy and slowly removing the reliance on foreign imports.
About the Author
Louise is a financial writer for MoneySupermarket. Her fields of expertise are personal and business finance, retail psychology and parenting.
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