University of Exeter
Falmouth University College

Five Reasons to Think Locally This Christmas

4 December 2020
A shot of Falmouth's main shopping street with coloured bunting and crowds of people

Head of Sustainability Oliver Milliner asks us all to think local this festive season:

'During these unprecedented times, the impact national lockdowns and regulations have had on our local communities to prevent the spread of Covid-19 have become a huge economic and social challenge for small to medium independent business owners. The challenge of supporting local businesses during these restrictions also impacts our sustainability. However, the circumstances that we are in have also opened up some great opportunities for us to simplify our lives, think about what is most important to us and realise more and more that our natural environment is so important to us.

As Anna Lappé says, an activist and writer, ‘every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want’. Our purchasing habits have a huge impact, far beyond what we see and realise. Products made overseas will typically go through complex, tiered supply and manufacturing chains. Along this process are a series of economic, social and environmental impacts and then they may either be thrown away or sometimes not even used at all. Why is it important to think locally this Christmas then? Here are five reasons you should think and shop locally this Christmas, and tell all your friends and family to do the same:

  1. It supports and boosts the local economy. Research on spending by local authorities shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business, 63p stayed in the local economy whereas 40p remained with larger businesses. Busy and thriving high streets occupied by independent businesses also boosts nearby house prices.
  2. Less packaging and carbon miles. Choosing in season produce that is grown or sourced within your local or neighbouring counties will lower your environmental impact through reducing emissions and pollution from a products manufacturing, packaging and transport. When you shop at independent bakers, butchers or green grocers, it is also likely the quality will be better, healthier with less additives.
  3. Unique gifts and higher quality product. Independent shops compared to larger international businesses will usually offer unique and even sometimes hand-crafted products. Buying products like this, shop assistants or owners will probably also be able to tell you more about the materials and sourcing aspects. We also tend to cherish and appreciate gifts or products that are unique and sometimes more expensive. Buying higher quality products that are more expensive will usually last longer and give you more enjoyment. 
  4. Forming relationships and sharing knowledge. Independent businesses can become central to the community and are a fantastic source for sharing and gathering information for what is going on with their staff. This is also a fantastic mental wellbeing factor creating new friendships and opening yourself up to new social networks. If you develop a new friendship, you may even get a cheeky discount for next time!
  5. Support or donate to a local community group or get involved in a sustainability initiative. The true spirit of Christmas is about giving and helping. It can be challenging sometimes to fit in charitable actions into your schedule during the year. However, this is a great period in the year to show your Christmas spirit supporting local charities, community groups or environmental programs. Ultimately, this boosts your surrounding areas environment and social qualities.

Did you know that 70% of our FX Plus food and drinks suppliers and 39% of our total supply chain are either from Cornwall or Devon?

We’d love to know what you are doing this Christmas thinking locally, feel free to share with us on our social media channels and #OurEffect.'

Twitter and Facebook: @FalmouthExeter Instagram: falmouthexeterplus