So is your job. How you earn your money is arguably just as important as how you spend it.
I’ve had this thought before, but Desirae’s comment on my Actics post reminded me of it. So did a blurb in the new issue of Sierra magazine about the Graduation Pledge Alliance,
which enables college seniors to publicly promise to take into account
the social and environmental impacts of any job they consider. Of course, not everyone has that luxury, but it’s nice to know that a
significant portion of tomorrow’s workers and leaders are thinking
along those lines.
What resources exist to help people find employers that align with not only their skills and interests but also their values—and hopefully treat workers well? That’s a tall order. SustainableBusiness.com offers a number of links. Another place to look is the corporate-social-responsibility press. As I pointed out to Desirae, Business Ethics magazine publishes the 100 Best Corporate Citizens list, and Ethisphere puts out the World’s Most Ethical Companies list every year.
But there’s a caveat. Such rosters only consider large, publicly traded corporations (because it’s easier to get data on them). And in the world of big business, “best” or “most ethical” doesn’t always mean great or truly ethical. For example, Royal Dutch/Shell, a company that lives in infamy after the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa, can be found on Ethisphere’s list. Kimberly-Clark, a recent addition to my own boycott list because of its reckless disregard of virgin forests, is on Business Ethics’ inventory.
Interestingly, a Harvard Business School paper published earlier this year titled “Do Corporate Social Responsibility Ratings Predict Corporate
Social Performance?” determines that the answer is, essentially, Not as
much as you’d like.
OK, I’m going to leave this Big Topic at that for now.
December 2010 I haven't actually bought anything from Po-Zu yet, but I appreciate their awareness of the fact that many vegan shoes are made of petroleum products and aren't necessarily better for the environment than leather footwear. Po-Zu seems to set a high bar for itself when it comes to ingredients and supply chains.
March 2010 After running out of dish soap, I started using our good old bars of Sappo Hill out of necessity. But you know what? Our dishes are just as clean, and when I pick up the soap at our grocery store, the only packaging on the bars is the price tag. And did I mention the soap is awesome? We love the oatmeal bar.
February 2010 TMI alert: If you're a squeamish guy, read no further. I'm done with tampons! Instead, I'm using the DivaCup.
January 2010 Mr. Wallet Mouth and I both love Pact. Its underwear is made of organic cotton, and the company donates 10% of its sales to worthy environmental causes. Not only that, but the company is serious about eco-friendly packaging. Each pair of undies comes not in a plastic bag but in a little cloth pouch made from fabric remnants. I'm also impressed with how responsive Pact is over email; when I asked a packaging question, I got a nice reply from the CEO.
December 2009 After reading about Skoy Cloths, the biodegradable paper-towel alternative, on Fake Plastic Fish, I bought a bunch for stocking stuffers and my own kitchen, and I'm now a fan. They're lasting a long time, despite repeated washings in the laundry, and they arrive with minimal packaging.
October 2009 I was already of fan of Straus yogurt (see June 2007), but now I love it even more. According to Michael Straus, a son of the company's founder, Straus yogurt "is made, cooled, and set in stainless-steel vats, unlike most yogurts, which are poured while still hot into plastic cups to cool and set." As someone who's concerned about plastics and chemical safety, I'm happy to hear that!
July 2009 I'm using a lot more baking soda now that I'm making more of an effort to clean the house in a nontoxic way. But from now on I'll be buying Bob's Red Mill, since Arm & Hammer engages in animal testing.
July 2008 Started feeling extra-good about buying one of my fave meat substitutes, Tofurky, after learning that its maker, Turtle Island Foods, is an independent, family-owned company (Unlike Boca Foods, which is a subsidiary of Kraft, and Morningstar, which is owned by Kellogg).
April 2008 I'm going to start buying my canned beans from Eden Foods, for two reasons: it uses custom-made cans that don't contain bisphenol A, and it's an independent, family-operated company.
February 2008 From now on, whenever I order takeout or ask for a doggy bag, I’ll make sure to avoid #6 polystyrene containers (and, of course, Styrofoam).