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Regional does not necessarily mean sustainable

Regional is not always sustainable

At pro Local, we believe that regional value creation and the promotion of locally sourced products brings social, ecological, and environmental benefits. This opinion is also shared by many consumers, who are placing more and more value on the regionality of products. But does regional necessarily mean better?

Pro Local guarantees local production. Is that enough?

There are many misleading, incomplete and sometimes non-transparent labels of origin on the market. The pro local labels were founded to create full transparency and certainty for consumers. Through the two labels, we want to help consumers to quickly and easily get information about the production of products. Thereby, we want to contribute to a future in which buyers are honestly informed about where products are made.

Critical readers will note that we are using big words. Honesty, transparency, certainty. We demand great trust from consumers, who must rely on our claims, and producers, who openly present their data to us for the test report. Just as critically and meticulously as we test producers for these values, we must also question ourselves as a label. After all, the legitimate question arises as to whether we can speak of sustainability if we only check the place of production.

Not really. Regional products are not yet de facto sustainable. Whether a product comes from organic or conventional farming, for example, makes a big environmental difference – but is not indicated by our label. The reason for this is simple: there are already good and trustworthy quality labels that check for key aspects such as fair production or organic.
The term sustainability is made up of various factors: a social, ecological and economic dimension. According to this definition, a product can only be called sustainable if it meets the requirements of all dimensions.  However, the truth is often as follows: A product that is produced under fair and humane working conditions is not necessarily manufactured using only organic and environmentally friendly production materials.  Accordingly, a product may fulfill certain aspects of sustainability while failing in another dimension. It is desirable for a product to prove itself in all dimensions of sustainability – but in reality this is often not the case.

3 dimensions of sustainability

We therefore believe it is important to recognize that you can make a contribution to sustainability, even if not all requirements can be met. It is important to deal honestly and openly with one’s own weaknesses and mistakes, to constantly try to learn from these mistakes and to improve accordingly. That is why we offer our producers consultations and workshops through a network of specialized partners in order to jointly develop sustainable concepts and business processes. We consider sustainability to be a process that arises from efforts to find better solutions, joint action and the many different contributions of all stakeholders.

different stakeholders contribute to climate protection

Our contribution - local value creation

As mentioned above, there are already very trustworthy seals of approval that set very strict environmental and social standards. And quite honestly and self-reflectively – they do it better than we probably could. (Great recommendation: the Greenpeace Seal Check, which checks the trustworthiness of seals of approval). However, there is currently no label that checks the place of origin of a product down to the smallest component – this is the contribution that we as pro local want to make to a sustainable future of fully informed consumers. Because we are convinced that locally produced products can make a contribution to the development of a sustainable future.

To summarize

We see a lot of potential in supporting regional value creation processes in all dimensions of sustainability. Of course, the word regional alone does not guarantee that a product is sustainable – nevertheless, we think that it is a step in the right direction.

In combination with other quality labels, we hope that the pro local label can make a small contribution to the development of a sustainable future.

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