explore
The Patterns of a Conservation Economy
ConservationEconomy.net Home
Learning Network The Roots of Our Work Contact Us A project of Ecotrust
Browse Mode
Explore Whole Patterns
Explore Patterns Images
Explore Pattern Case Studies
Pattern Image

Linda Hawkshaw of Skeena Wild. She and her husband outfitted their boat with tanks to keep the fish alive so that they can be killed, bled, and gutted immediately before shipment, yielding a higher-quality product and thus a greater return for each fish.
Image by Seth Zuckerman.

Pattern
Value-Added Production

When resources are exported in raw form, without economic value being added, they contribute very little to the stability and diversity of local economies.

Resource-dependent communities have historically captured little of the enormous wealth that has flowed through them. They have simply extracted raw materials, creating relatively few jobs while remaining at the mercy of external market forces and owners. Most of the economic value has been generated elsewhere.

In contrast, Local Economies are able to turn raw resources, both local and imported, into a wide range of products and services. Such economies can effectively harness skilled labor and specialized equipment to add many layers of value to every tree, fish, mineral, or crop. They provide more economic activity — and therefore more jobs — per unit of resource, decreasing pressure on Natural Capital and enhancing Social Equity.

Timbre Tonewood, based on Vancouver Island, provides an excellent example of Value-Added Production. The company, which makes spruce and cedar guitar tops, carefully evaluates every piece of wood that comes through its mill. Based on their appearance, the dried planks are sorted into nine different grades, ranging from the low-end tops, which will probably be painted, to the very best — distinguished by their creamy color, their even ring pattern, and rays running across the grain.

Timbre Tonewood's by-products feed the local economy as well. A local box-maker uses some of the pieces that are too small or irregular to be made into guitar tops for smoked salmon cases. Using Waste as Resource, another local entrepreneur blends the sawdust from the operation with shrimp shells to make compost.

Value-added products have also been developed from timber (including flooring, lumber, furniture, crafts, etc.), seafood (premium products created through careful processing and decreasing time to market), agriculture (specialty products like jams, sauces, packaged foods), and many other sources.

Add value locally by careful application of appropriate skills and equipment, creating additional jobs without increasing the strain on ecosystems. This helps maintain a stable and diverse local economy.


Examples of this pattern in action:


Skeena Wild has pioneered a selective gillnet fishery on the Skeena River. The company nets sockeye, catching the fish by the jawbone, not the gills, and lands them live. The fish are then bled and dressed live, making them the highest quality sockeye available anywhere. The method allows them to catch fewer fish, release any by-catch like coho and steelhead without injury, and earn three times the going rate for the fish they land because of their focus on quality, not volume. It's through the kind of ingenuity and care demonstrated by Skeena Wild that we can maintain and restore ecosystem health. Ecotrust Canada is working with Skeena Wild to create policy and market openings for their selectively caught, highest quality wild fish.

Timbre Tonewood
Timbre Tonewood, based in Ucluelet, British Columbia and making spruce and cedar guitar tops, carefully evaluates every piece of wood which comes through its mill. Based on their appearance, the dried planks are sorted into nine different grades, ranging from the low-end tops, which will probably be painted, to the very best — distinguished by their creamy color, their even ring pattern, and rays running across the grain. These top-quality tops bring Tonewood US$40 and are used in $3,000 instruments. Their by-products feed the local economy as well. A local box-maker uses for smoked salmon some of the pieces that are too small or irregular to be made into guitars. Another local entrepreneur blends the sawdust from the operation with shrimp shells to make compost.


Organizations whose work incorporate this pattern:

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Patagonia

A List of New Online Casinos

Real Goods

The Joinery


References:

Brownson, J.M. Jamil. In Cold Margins: Sustainable Development in Northern Bioregions. Northern Rim Press. Missoula, MT. 1995.

Morris, David. The New City-States. Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Washington, DC. 1982.


« Previous Pattern | Next Pattern »



Pattern Index

A Conservation Economy

Social Capital

Fundamental Needs

Subsistence Rights

Shelter For All

Health

Access To Knowledge

Community

Social Equity

Security

Cultural Diversity

Cultural Preservation

Sense Of Place

Beauty And Play

Just Transitions

Civic Society

Natural Capital

Ecological Land-Use

Connected Wildlands

Core Reserves

Wildlife Corridors

Buffer Zones

Productive Rural Areas

Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable Forestry

Sustainable Fisheries

Ecotourism

Compact Towns And Cities

Human-Scale Neighborhoods

Green Building

Transit Access

Ecological Infrastructure

Urban Growth Boundaries

Ecosystem Services

Watershed Services

Soil Services

Climate Services

Biodiversity

Economic Capital

Household Economies

Green Business

Long-Term Profitability

Community Benefit

Green Procurement

Renewable Energy

Sustainable Materials Cycles

Resource Efficiency

Waste As Resource

Product As Service

Local Economies

Value-Added Production

Rural-Urban Linkages

Local Assets

Bioregional Economies

Fair Trade

True Cost Pricing

Product Labeling