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Our Work

Our Work


LOCO is building stronger communities with applied research of the policies and practices of a fair and just economy, contributing to a world where resilient communities are based on shared economic prosperity.

We produce research that demonstrates the beneficial practices and impacts of independent businesses, engage businesses to measure, further and promote their impacts, and educate consumers and purchasers to influence them to buy local products and services whenever possible. We also research the challenges faced by independent businesses, advocate for reducing these barriers, and work to build bridges between businesses and policymakers.   

Local Purchasing Research

The Impact of BC's Independent Retailers & Consumer Support for Local. LOCO worked with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) to assess the economic impact of BC’s independent retailers. The full report contains data for all of Canada; our summary focuses on the results for BC. The research found that BC independent retailers recirculate 66% of their revenue within the province, equal to the Canadian average, and the second highest in the country. In comparison, Multinational Corporations (MNCs) with physical stores in Canada have a recirculation of 11% and large online platforms with no retail stores have a recirculation of 8%. Independent retailers in BC have 6 times the economic benefit of multinationals with stores in the province and 8 times the economic benefit of big online platforms with no stores. The study also found that 83% of BC consumers feel it’s important that the money they spend is redistributed in their communities, but they underestimate the amount that local businesses recirculate by almost 1/2, while also overestimating the amount that MNCs and online platforms do by up to 3.4 times. Download the BC Summary and the Canada-wide report.

The Impact of Shopping Local: An Economic and Carbon Analysis of 5 Common Purchases. LOCO and Vancity teamed up to measure the impact of 5 common purchases - a loaf of bread, a caffe latte, blueberries, a dress, and a bicycle - from local businesses compared to imported products from non-local businesses. We worked with Offsetters and Civic Economics for the carbon and economic analysis. We found that locally grown or made product results in a greenhouse gas reduction benefit of between 5% and 66% compared to imported products, that local products produce a local economic benefit between 2.0 and 7.1 TIMES that of imported products (an average of 4.1 times), and that a local retailer compared to a non-local retailer that is purely online has a benefit of 107 TIMES. Download the report now. Check out the infographics

The Economic Impact of Local Businesses. This 2019 research found that independent businesses recirculate 4.6 times more revenue than multinationals, produce 8.4 times more jobs/ft², and 8.1 times more revenue/ft². We found that local businesses spend 31.4% of their revenue on B.C. products and services from B.C.-based businesses and they donate 24 times more per dollar of revenue to local charities. Download the report.

The Power of Purchasing: The Economic Impacts of Local Procurement. In 2013 LOCO partnered with the Columbia Institute and UBC Sauder Centre for Social Innovation and Impact Investing to produce Canada’s first research into the multiplier effect when businesses and institutions buy from local supplier. This research compares the economic recirculation that occurs when purchasing happens with local businesses compared to multinational chains and online stores. Download the report.

Buying Local: Tools for Forward-Thinking Institutions. In 2013 LOCO partnered with the Columbia Institute and UBC Sauder Centre for Social Innovation and Impact Investing to produce a companion report to The Power of Purchasing for institutions looking for strategies to source local within the framework of Canadian and Provincial free trade agreements. Download the report.

#BCBuyLocal Campaign

#BCBuyLocal is a consumer campaign illuminating BC Local Owned businesses, BC Local Made and BC Local Grown products to the consumers who love them. The campaign aims to:

  • Showcase B.C.-owned businesses and products to the market
  • Engage businesses in identifying how they are local
  • Create a platform to unify and support the Buy Local message across the province

Campaign reach is driven through partnerships with a growing number of community-based networks that spread the message throughout the province to businesses and their customers.

As part of this effort, we launched BC Buy Local Week in the province in 2012, and continue to coordinate it with our partners on the first week in December each year. We work with partners throughout the year to engage businesses, provide campaign materials, help businesses develop buy local marketing, and promote the benefits of independent businesses. See “Business Engagement” (under “Our Work”) for project profiles.

Visit the #BCBuyLocal site to download free digital materials and see how business and consumers engage using the hashtag #BCBuyLocal.

Business Engagement

We work with various partners to engage businesses to measure and further their economic impact, social and environmental practices, and encourage them to promote their positive impacts through the #BCBuyLocal campaign.

In 2016/2017, we worked with City of North Vancouver, and Envision Financial Ladner Branch. We engaged businesses directly or through presentations at business events, conducted workshops, measured the impact of businesses in the area, and promoted the areas and their businesses with targeted, month-long social media campaigns. 

In 2017/2018 we've started working with Vancity and Commercial Drive Business Society on a similar project. 

Contact us for more info about working with us.

Policies and Programs to Support Independent Business

We're working to identify and address the challenges facing independent businesses across B.C. We work with Business Improvement Areas, Municipalities and other partners.

In 2019 we assessed the cost of permit/license delays on businesses and the local economy in the City of Vancouver. We determined that the average length of 8.2 months from application to issuance costs the business $513,390 in lost revenue and leasing costs, and the broader local economy $208,418, for a total loss of $721,808. This research has been used to push for change in the processes and policies at the City.
Download the report. Get the infographics from our blog.

In 2017 we worked for the Downtown Vancouver BIA to assess the challenges for businesses and property owners on Granville Street, to highlight successful independent businesses located in the area, and to encourage independent businesses to consider locating in available retail spaces to revitalize the neighbourhood.   

In 2017 we worked for the City of Vancouver to investigate tools to protect heritage businesses in Vancouver's neighbourhoods, especially Chinatown. We partnered with Heritage Vancouver, Modus Planning, and Youth Collaborative for Chinatown's June Chow. 

In 2017 we worked for the City of Vancouver to investigate the economic decline in the Punjabi Market area, engaging stakeholders in the future of the area, reviewing the neighbourhood planning and development, assessing the existing retail mix, and collecting data on changes in the vacancy and commercial use over the last decade. We partnered with Modus Planning, DIG360, and Masala Consulting

Contact us for more info about working with us.