When producers of your favorite ready to drink teas and coffee drinks purchase their ingredients, they are limited to relying upon a series of certifications that indicate whether the ingredient was produced in an environmental or sustainable manner or adhere to responsible labor practices. This is a good system, but these businesses are often far removed from the supply chain that they are using and vetting. In many cases, they have nothing but a circular graphic to tell the story of the people, plants and processes that go into growing and harvesting the ingredients. One way to gain deeper insight and greater access to the ingredient supply chain is to source domestically. In fact, there are several benefits to sourcing domestically that go beyond fossil fuel reduction and transparency. Here is what we have learned from our work sustainably wild harvesting yaupon from the farms of central Texas.
Sourcing from domestic suppliers also has an impact on:
Job creation: Agriculture and production have become increasingly outsourced, off-shored and automated. Growing businesses that supply a domestic product increases manufacturing and processing jobs in local communities.
Labor rights: Domestic producers are required to legally employ with a minimum wage. International producers are not always held to a wage standard or it is difficult to enforce.
Transparency: In the US, suppliers must comply with Good Manufacturing Practices and must be licensed by the FDA. While the Food Safety Modernization Act has allowed great strides in terms of improving international standards, the participation in this program is currently voluntary.
Environmental Sustainability: Beyond the reduction of fuel used in shipping and transporting, domestic manufacturers are often held to higher standards than developing countries for pollution. Also, there is commonly less packaging used when ingredients are distributed domestically.
Personal connection with suppliers: Quality control is a more direct and transparent process when purchasers are able to visit and develop a personal relationship with suppliers. Developing these relationships also allows a deeper opportunity for feedback, collaboration and community development.
Improved inventory carrying costs: When sourcing from domestic producers there is accessibility to order more frequently and in smaller batches, thus reducing inventory carrying costs.
Tax and tariff burden reduction: When purchasing domestically there is less fee complexity and fewer taxes.