Climate change is serious business. But adapting to the needs of the planet and committing to sustainable practices can also be good for business.
‘When I was in my early 20’s I moved out west from a small town in Ohio. The beauty of the mountains changed my life. My love for the outdoors has made me a strong advocate for protecting th environment. I try to conserve resources, and in terms of the food that I eat, I’m all about slow food. Locally grown, clean, small scale. I like to know where the food comes from, and I don’t want it covered in Aviation Fuel.’ Corey Milligan Owner New West KnifeWorks
Milligan has tried to apply his principles to his business practices. ‘hough making anything has an environmental impact, we need to make every effort to minimize it. When I decided I was going to make New West Knifeworks a sustainable business, I started to realize it didn’t have to be a huge sacrifice. I started to see the ways our new knives were going to be better for the planet, better for the customers, and also, better for business.’
In an effort to reduce New West’s carbon footprint, New West moved manufacturing from Japan to Shelburne Falls, Massachussetts in 2009. Prior to the move, the handle materials were produced in Vermont, shipped to Japan, and the finished product shipped to Wyoming. Now, the ‘Fusionwood’ is crafted in Vermont, then shipped 103 miles to Shelburne Falls. Also the steel, is produced a short distance away on a global scale of 300 miles. The move has reduced New West’s transportation carbon footprint by 90%. ‘There are hidden costs to bad business,’ Milligan says, ’The cost of all those fossil fuels carrying knives back and forth to Japan doesn’t just come out of my wallet, it comes out of my kid’s future. No thanks.’
Transportation isn’t the only way New West has cut its carbon footprint. The knives are made in a factory 100% powered by its own onsite hydro-electric power plant. Our factory has actually been hydropowered for its entire 170 years of existence. The water used to run through the factory and turn the machines but since 1910 we have produced our own power with our hydro power plant on the adjacent Deerfield River.
Finally, by investing in better quality materials, New West is able to make a knife that will last a lifetime. People need to realize that when they go to Wal-Mart and buy cheap, knock off knives, they may be saving a buck now, but those knives aren’t going to last. The worst thing for our planet is low quality disposable products- not to mention you're stuck using a lousy, dull knife. A knife made using dirty coal, starvation labor, and no quality standards. We all need to start to realize the hidden costs of what we consume.’