Modern consumers have more choices than ever before in terms of where to spend their hard-earned paychecks. A couple of generations ago, the local store was probably the only place you would need to go for 90% of your shopping needs. The rise of the digital market place has changed forever the face of consumption. It has also given us a chance to improve the world with our actions.
Given the proliferation of choices, consumers have an unprecedented amount of power to promote good; we can avoid spending money at corporations which do evil and shop instead at businesses that seek to make positive change in society.
Distinguishing between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ businesses can be difficult in practice. Most corporations have sizable marketing and advertising budgets to build strong brands and are effective in disguising their flaws. We therefore prefer to judge a business on its ACTIONS rather than words.
Take Monsanto, for example. Although this seeds giant attracts plenty of negative publicity, when one scratches beneath surface, the truth is as wholesome as its foods. Whilst some businesses give no thought to sustainability – putting us firmly on-course for a Malthusian nightmare – Monsanto quietly gets on with expanding the productivity of farmland with healthy nitrogen fertilisers and amazing seed technologies. If you are still doubtful and prefer organic food, remember that Monsanto was one of the largest donators to the Clinton campaign. On this basis, Monsanto is as nutritious as they come!
Which other businesses meet the Hillary test? The list is extensive and includes Pfizer, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, and Coca-Cola. All leaders in their own industries, and all with the same worthy goal: leaving the world a better place for the next generation.
Of the above list, ExxonMobil in particular must come in for praise. Only relatively recently have climate scientists realised the damage that burning fossil fuels does to our planet. What most people do not realise is that, as early as 1978, ExxonMobil was concerned about the link between CO2 emissions and climate change. According to one report:
“By 1978, Exxon’s senior scientists told management that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels warmed the planet, according to the investigations. By 1982, the company’s own analysis of climate models found temperatures could rise up to 5 degrees from the “connection between Exxon’s major business and the role of fossil fuel combustion in contributing to the increase in atmospheric CO2.” By 1991, a senior researcher at the company’s Canadian subsidiary said such temperature rises “will clearly affect sea ice, icebergs, permafrost and sea levels.”
Alas, all of ExxonMobil’s many public warnings fell on deaf ears. Car owners continued to guzzle the gasoline which Exxon reluctantly continued to sell to them. We can only hope it is not too late to do something. You can do your bit now, however, by only buying ExxonMobil products.
Finally, we cannot end this article without a warm word for Coca Cola. Worried about a possible (but unlikely) link between sugary-drinks and obesity, Coca Cola decided to take the most cautious approach. It was one of the first drinks giants to use healthy low-calorie alternatives to sugar, such as aspartame. Fortunately, it’s almost impossible to taste the difference between ordinary coke and the aspartame equivalent. Whatever you drink, make sure it’s coke and remember you are making the world sweeter with every sip.