Everything we do in our lives somehow affects someone else. Each purchase decision you make impacts a long line from manufacturing to distribution. Unfortunately, most of our society either isn’t aware of their impact, or doesn’t care enough to alter their day-to-day lives. In this blog, I will be focusing on the idea that you can make a positive change for the world by just being a conscious consumer. Throughout my time in college, I have been inundated with information regarding companies’ social responsibility or lack thereof. Hopefully, by reading this blog, you will be made aware of the practices of certain companies, and maybe will change your purchasing habits to line-up with values of how humans should be treated.
Being aware of all companies’ worldwide social footprint can prove a daunting task, how can one possibly know how every company treats all of its affiliates and employees? To the rescue comes the book, Better World Shopper, and now website www.betterworldshopper.com. This program has used over 5 years of extensive research evaluating the corporate social responsibility of 1000+ companies. Better World Shopper ranks companies A-F regarding many facets of their social impact. They rate them based on these 5 key factors:
HUMAN RIGHTS: sweatshops, 3rd world community exploitation, international health issues, divestment, child labor, code of conduct.
THE ENVIRONMENT: global warming, rainforest destruction, pollution, recycling, renewable energy, greenwashing, toxic waste, eco-innovations, illegal dumping, sustainable farming.
ANIMAL PROTECTION: factory farming, animal testing, humane treatment, wild animal habitat.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: family farms, local business support, volunteer efforts, sustainable growth, philanthropic donations, nonprofit alliances, establishing foundations.
SOCIAL JUSTICE : fair wages, fatalities, union busting efforts, health & safety records, discrimination based on: race, gender, age, ability, religion, sexuality, ethnicity.
So, to show how one can use this resource in a purchasing decision, lets say we are buying a staple in the fridge, beer. Visit www.betterworldshopper.com and products are divided by categories. It ranks numerous brewing companies, the highest being New Belgium Brewery out of Colorado. It comes as no surprise that many of the large brands such as Busch and Budweiser are ranked pretty low, each receiving D’s. If you want more information as to the reasoning behind each specific ranking, the author Dr. Ellis Jones recommends you purchase the book; however, even if you don’t do that the website creates a great jumping-off point for your own research into the subject.
As a citizen of this world, I believe it is our responsibility to know our purchasing power, and the effect each purchase has on society. Over the rest of my posts I will be focusing on certain companies that have proven to be either good or bad corporate citizens. Also, if I come across an interesting documentary tracking a companies social behavior I will make that known to all of you.
So now you KNOW, time to ACT!