In our consumer-driven culture, we vote with our dollars. Do you want to know that your purchase doesn’t perpetuate sweatshop labor? Do you wish you could buy a vehicle that better utilized available technology? Every purchase we make sends a message to Corporate America. Lets send the message that there is indeed a market demand for cleaner, greener, socially-sound products. The almighty consumer dollar just might be the voice that will get through to Corporate America. (Something has to.)
Cultural Creatives “Driving Change”
LoAnn Hilde, The Green Mercantile, Duluth
We are entering an age where concern for health and the environment is driving consumers to affect change with their financial decisions. Green retailers and businesses are specially suited to serve the “Cultural Creative” consumer, a market comprising 50 million individuals, or 26% of the U.S. population, according to sociologist and author Paul H. Ray, Ph.D. The Cultural Creatives are drawn to relationship-based marketing and are health conscious, ecologically minded and values driven in their purchasing and lifestyle decisions. Cultural Creative are further described by Ray as people who care deeply about the environment, relationships, peace and social justice issues, self-actualization, spirituality and self-expression. Cultural Creatives tend to be activists, volunteers and contributors to good causes more often than other Americans, but do not fully realize how great their numbers are. Once they realize the strength of their numbers, their impact on society and the economy promise to be enormous.
Be an informed consumer. The following resources can help.
For individuals wishing to shop with or research responsible companies, Responsible Shopper from Co-op America offers in-depth social profiles on countless companies. A report on IBM, for example, looks at everything from Superfund sites, toxic emissions, and worker benefits to laudatory activities.
For activists, “Watchdog on the Web” may be the best site of all. CorpWatch offers news you may not find elsewhere on human rights abuses abroad, public policy, and environmental news-plus on-site reporting of protests. CorpWatch puts out the bimonthly Greenwash Awards, and runs a Climate Justice Initiative, as well as the Alliance for a Corporate-Free UN. To subscribe to their e-letter, send a blank message to corp-watchers-subscribe@
Corporate Predators offers a valuable, quirky voice in corporate responsibility. Taking on topics not covered elsewhere, the columns have looked at how the chemical industry responded to Bill Moyers TV program on industry coverup, how little academic research focuses on corporate crime, and why it’s inappropriate to legally view corporations was “persons.” Subscribe free to the column by sending an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the text “subscribe.”
What You Can Do
Boy or Girlcott!
Co-op America maintains a current list of on-going boycotts at: www.coopamerica.org/boycotts/
Recent boycotts include:
Suzuki for their alleged support of the military dictatorship in Burma.
NORPAC for not resolving farmworker complaints.
Neiman Marcus for selling fur.
Mt. Olive Pickles Company for not negotiating with farmworkers to improve conditions and wages.
Amoco for methane drilling in Colorado, jeopardizing health and safety.
Discover Card for involvement in the construction of the Three Gorges Dam.