The consumer base for green retailers that value sustainability is growing — but more businesses need to get on board as a new study has found unexpected side effects of the high demand cheap goods the for U.S. from China is resulting in environmental and health problems, reports Reuters.

“Between 17 and 36 percent of various air pollutants in China in 2006 were related to the production of goods for export, according to the report, and a fifth of that specifically tied to U.S.-China trade,” says Reuters, referring to the report published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a non-profit society of scholars.

While folks understand the general idea that creating a system that sources, manufactures, produces and operates locally is a good thing — they may not be aware of just how much these choices benefit the environment.

“We’ve outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us,” co-author Steve Davis said in the report.

This new report is showing the pollution in China generated by U.S. manufacturing is of the black carbon variety — which not only contributes to climate change but also is actually linked to cancer, heart and lung diseases and emphysema. The report is suggesting, through important findings, that maybe trade issues should be more thoughtfully considered in efforts to reduce pollution.

Sustainable business practices are starting to be taken seriously but shifting gears and getting more folks on board could really speed up the movement benefiting business, the environment and in some cases, people’s health.

Canada is making an effort in sustainability

With Macleans celebrating socially responsible companies, consumers and retailers alike are being ushered in a greener direction.  In Maclean’s Top 50 Socially Responsible Companies 2013, they highlight the efforts made by retailers like Best Buy Co. Inc. and explain how this company has employees distributing ‘sustainability scorecards’ to stores.

“The scorecard tracks employees’ impact in community relations, consumer-electronics recycling and retail-energy performance,” reports Macleans.

Big retailers such as Canadian Tire, Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Lush Cosmetics, Loblaws and Lululemon get it.

As a resource, here’s a Canadian perspective on Green Supply Chain Management: Retail Chains and Consumer Product Goods, for more information.

At BizEnergy, we do our best to celebrate the green efforts from folks in the retail, food service, accommodations and small industrial business sectors. We have rebates and incentives for those who get their energy efficiency on.



Image credit: Anton Albert