With everything going on in our political climate, we, as ordinary members of society, sometimes feel powerless. One of the ways in which we can influence who has power and say in the future of our country and planet is to be an informed consumer! Some of the biggest determinates of who has power are about who has money. So, listen closely because you may be surprised to learn some of these lesser-known facts about the companies you spend money on within your daily life!
We’ll start on the negative side of things, so we can get that out of the way. Here are some of the WORST companies to buy products from:
This may come as shock, but Whole Foods is definitely not wholesome. There are a couple reasons for this, one of which is that, according to DailyDot.com and a variety of other sources, Whole Foods is “under investigation for 45 violations of federal labor law, including physically threatening immigrant workers in California who were trying to form a union.” The company degrades the rights of workers and upholds a system of seriously overpriced product that makes their resources only available to wealthy. In addition, their CEO has made several statements about climate change being “not necessarily bad.” Overall I think we can agree that it’s a good thing there is no longer a Whole Foods in downtown Davis.
This one is tough because Amazon is so hard to escape, but we’ll dive into the issues here anyway. Amazon has been accused of emotionally hostile work environments, fraudulent sales, undercutting publishing/book companies and their beneficiaries, little concern for the environment, and workplace deaths! I’m sure you’re probably wondering if you read that right, but yes, you did.
Unlike some other online shopping companies, Amazon refused to release information of its energy consumption at data centers. Also unlike some of their competitors, Amazon does not invest in green energy. They do have a blurb on their website about “the importance of recycling electronic equipment” but reading the fine print shows that this service is limited to its own products like Kindle, e-reader, and others.
The other two in this list may be surprising, but this one definitely isn’t. At this point, it’s common knowledge, but in 2017 Wells Fargo financed the Dakota Access Pipeline that was built to run through sacred Native American land, specifically near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. In addition to their disregard for marginalized groups, they’ve also had several very large scandals. In 2016, Wells Fargo admitted to creating millions of accounts without consumer consent. As of 2017, some new scandals that arose dealt with discrimination by Wells Fargo against Latino plaintiffs. Overall Wells Fargo, obviously is unconcerned with transparency, consumer needs, and society in general.
Now, on to the best companies! You may be surprised to find out what good work is going on right under your nose!
Ben and Jerry’s
What a relief, right? Ben and Jerry’s was actually created in 1985 with the decision that 7.5 percent of the company’s pretax profits would be put towards philanthropy, which in my opinion is really freaking cool. Ben and Jerry’s now donates more than $1.8 million a year to fund community action, social change, and sustainability. The company also came out against Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone because of its concern about the economic impact on family farming. In general, I guess you could say Ben and Jerry’s is pretty sweet.
Since opening its doors in the ’70s in Seattle, Starbucks has always been open to supporting social change and sustainability. Some initiatives the company has funded have been providing one million coffee trees for farmers as a partner in Conservation International’s “Sustainable Coffee Challenge.” In addition, in response to recent political change and the U.S’s immigration policy, the company plans to hire 10,000 refugees across 75 countries in the next five years, and 25,000 veterans by 2025.
Ikea actually has its own foundation! The Ikea Foundation focuses on the funding home, health, education, and sustainable income for communities in need. In 2017 they funded the Bright Lives for Refugees campaign which funded a solar farm to bring clean energy to a refugee camp in Jordan. The plant will save $1.5 million dollars as well as reduce CO2 emissions.
Cover photo source: Pexels