We firmly believe the grassroots movement for eating, shopping and buying at local independently owned businesses has gained a lot of traction in the last five to ten years, and people are factoring in where they are spending their dollars.
What makes a business local? For our purposes, LoveLiveLocal defines local as the corporate headquarters for the business physically located on Cape Cod. Additionally we love to see and celebrate local businesses that contribute to the community in a positive way.
So, what happens when corporate or nonlocal entities catch on that local is “trending?”
You have likely heard the terms whitewashing – it’s defined as ‘a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in a political context’ – and greenwashing, ‘when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be eco-friendly (or green) through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact.’ Along the same vein we felt it important to keep on keeping it 100 and define what we consider “localwashing.”
We see localwashing as when a corporate entity or non-local business tries to present themselves in a way that suggests they are locally owned to cash in on the trend of shopping, buying and eating local.
Some examples include:
- When one of the biggest banks on the planet calls itself “the world’s local bank”
- When a huge retailer opens other smaller stores (selling the same/similar merchandise) under a different name or a large coffee chain removes its name from a few of its locations in order to appear independently owned
- When a supermarket chain advertises themselves as offering “local flavor” when they stock a minimal amount of locally grown produce
- If a corporately owned shopping center urges people to shop local…at their nearest mall filled with chain stores
- If a store found in cities and towns all over the country sells items with the word LOCAL branded on them
- When an international condiment brand launches a marketing campaignencouraging people to eat locally grown produce…with their mayonnaise
- If a corporate bookstore claims “all bookselling is local”
When a big corporation or business not based in what you consider your local community does something like this, it can be considered localwashing.
These tactics are disingenuous and deceptive, and not good for any local community. Because at the end of the day, more money spent at truly local stores stays in a local community than money spent at national stores or online.