From “shortcut-to-riches” internet marketers to Shark Tank, we hear a constant refrain, “If you want to be successful, outsource your manufacturing to a country with cheap labor costs.” If all you are concerned about is the bottom line in the short term, this may be good advice. It will certainly give you an initial advantage in the marketplace. But what about the long term and what about your responsibility to world health?
It’s not just the labor that is cheaper; it’s the overall health standards that are less stringent than here in the United States. Our pollution standards are pretty strict and expensive to comply with because we don’t want to have manufacturing negatively affect our health. Some Americans believe that it’s OK to buy products manufactured overseas, where they are subject to lower environmental standards, because we live so far away they can’t possibly affect our health here. This thinking leaves the door is wide open for questionable overseas manufacturing. But will that door always be open?
Consider what happens when the data begins to be front page news – that our oceans, air and climate are hurting our health as a result of where and how our cheap products are being manufactured. Los Angeles already reports several days a year when they exceed pollution standards, not because of violations in LA but because of pollution that came over the Pacific Ocean from Asia!
Consumer demand for cheap prices is driving this situation today, but sooner or later the true cost of “cheap” manufacturing will be too expensive to support or ignore. We already know it’s unsustainable, which is why we have such relatively high standards in our own country.
Soon “cheap” manufacturing will be unattractive to the consumer. In these days of increasing transparency, consumer groups, health advocates and environmental groups will be exposing the true costs of cheap manufacturing.
New entrepreneurs have to make a choice. Do you want to be part of the past, where you bet that no one would ever refuse to buy your product, no matter where or how it was made, as long as the price was cheap? Or do you want to be part of the future where you realize that world health will eventually trump price and give your environmentally- friendly manufactured products an edge in an increasingly educated and sensitive market?
Millennials who are inheriting this planet are beginning to realize how their decisions today will influence their future. Change is already happening. They know that the quality of their lives will be dependent on factors like pollution standards, water reclamation standards, and protection of the oxygen-producing rainforests. They know they are voting with their purchases every day – and that vote is more profound than anything they can get done at the polls.
Thanks to the proliferation of information, mass changes in attitude will occur at an ever-accelerating rate. Buyers are becoming very concerned about manufacturing processes and their implications to world health. This will be further accelerated by super storms, super droughts, famines, and pestilence. The choices buyers make will become more a matter of survival.
The world of business has cleaned up its act before. We saw the end of widespread use of lead, asbestos, and ozone-destroying additives once it became clear they were hurting our health.
Now is the time for all new entrepreneurs to reject the way things have been done in the past and market clean and healthy products. Beat the rush. Be a leader. Give the emerging consumers what they really want – a sustainable world to live in.
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.