Voting with Our Wallets Green - Our Daily Green

Friday, October 22, 2010

Voting with Our Wallets Green

Several of Our Daily Green's posts this month have focused on consumer choices. We are an economy driven by consumption. It's daunting and confusing to know what companies to support. Under the category of Confessional Green, we admit there are times making such a choice is overwhelming to the point of resentment and inaction. Yet, how consumers spend their money is the way to drive corporate change.

Yesterday, we posted an opportunity to vote for Green Affiliates. The voting is going well, but Green Affiliates is far behind the leader, with the seventh highest number of votes. After checking out the leader, Ethical Oceans does provide a valuable service. One of their recommendations is a book and website that is so simplified and comprehensive that we had to share it here. Our Daily Green's tag line includes the words VERY SIMPLE for a reason. If it's too complicated to adopt, there will be no change in behavior. 

Better World Shopping is a comprehensive ranking site that considers five key issues:  
  • HUMAN RIGHTS: sweatshops, 3rd world community exploitation, international health issues, divestment, child labor, code of conduct. 
  • THE ENVIRONMENT: global warming, rain forest destruction, pollution, recycling, renewable energy, green washing, 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. 

The site then breaks down the goods and ranks them from best to worst, in simple color coded top ten format. The researchers also considered availability of merchandise so that it's not a wild goose chase to find the most responsible product. Better World Shopping has gathered over 20 years of data on over 1000 companies.  

What Our Daily Green appreciates about the research again is how VERY SIMPLE it is to vote responsibly with our wallets. Few people want to take the time to read every label or go to a myriad of stores or spend hours looking up information on each purchase. Better World Shopping has a pocket sized guide as well as a $1.99 APP for phones.

Better World Shopping's website also provides the resources to obtain more in-depth information. One of the more interesting charts was the top 10 lobbying companies currently spending some of the largest amounts of money on Washington. Lobbying influences the democratic process in ways that serve the companies, but not necessarily the consumer.

With Halloween fast approaching, it was also interesting to find the rankings of chocolate companies which indicates that Nestle has an F, but Hershey's has a C, while the Fair Trade Divine Chocolate gets an A+. Charts like this help the consumer make a quick and informed choice instantaneously. For example, a choice of a Hershey's product would be better than a Nestle product, but not as good as Divine.

The Better World Shopping Guide 3One criticism is of course not knowing "WHY" behind the rankings without further research. This guide is easy to follow making it a very simple way to move towards responsible wallet voting. The popularity of this guide has it in its 3rd edition of publication.  

Let's Just Give It AwayOur Daily Green is so happy to find this book that we will send a complimentary copy to the seventh unique commenter on this post. Please follow, tweet, stumble, share, blog and like this post to help increase comments.

If you are the seventh commenter, please contact FreshGreenKim with contact information. Please include an item you plan to check out in this book if you are chosen. Do not include your email in the comments, but rather send it to me in a separate mail, to protect your privacy.

Good Luck!
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