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Does “Made in the USA” Mean It’s Sustainable?

5/3/2010 12:00:00 AM

Tags: made in the USA, sustainability, shopping, consumerism, products

When purchasing sustainable home products, green-minded consumers look at a lot of issues. Is the product energy efficient? What is it made of? Where are the materials sourced? Where is it made?

Made in USA
Products made in the country you live in have a lower carbon footprint and embodied energy than products manufactured an ocean away. Photo By Clearly Ambiguous/Courtesy Flickr. 

Where a product is manufactured says a lot about its sustainability. Products made overseas have a higher carbon footprint and often are produced under unfair working conditions. For American residents, products made in the United States travel less distance and therefore have smaller carbon footprints; they also provide jobs to Americans (usually). While being made in the United States certainly doesn’t guarantee that a product is environmentally friendly, a recent study found that today’s consumers often equate “made in the USA” with “sustainable.”

When asked what criteria they used to determine if a home-improvement product were green, consumers listed “made in the USA” as their number two priority, and 9 percent said that was their top priority. Twenty-three percent said that locally grown produce was the most important aspect in buying sustainable food. More study participants also choose products made in the United States over fair-trade products or those whose proceeds went directly to nonprofits doing global work.

Does “Made in the USA” indicate that a product is environmentally friendly? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

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