10.03.2009

Living the Simple Life

Unless you've been living under a Twitter/Blogger rock the big subject of the past few days is the Nestle Family blogger event. Nestle paid for a group of bloggers to fly out to their headquarters for an all expenses paid weekend to participate in a forum to discuss Nestle's products. I'm sure part of Nestle's goal was to get feedback from their consumers and part of it was to get some cheap PR. Whatever.

What ensued has been quite a controversy in the blog world and on Twitter. People are OUTRAGED that these bloggers attended this event and alot of angry words were thrown around.

The good news for me is that I got quite an education about some of Nestle's business practices. I knew that they have been highly criticized for marketing baby formula to third world countries, I knew a little about the controversy surrounding the company using cocoa harvested by forced labor. I didn't realize they are the most boycotted company on earth. Wow. Hey, you learn something new everyday.

This got me thinking, hmmm. What other companies should I question?

What can I feel good about buying? So I did a little research.

Here are some of the other companies with questionable practices:

Food:
Altria (Philip Morris/Kraft/Nabisco)
Campbell Soup (Pepperidge Farm, Godiva's)
Coca-Cola
ConAgra (Beatrice, Butterball, Hunts, Redenbacher)*
Equal/Nutrasweet (Monsanto)*
Hershey's
Nestle Purina* (Nescafe, Libby's, Stouffer's)
Smithfield Foods
Tyson Foods/IBP Meats
Unilever
Archer Daniels
Albertson's
Burger King
Chiquita
Country Time
Dean Foods (Borden & other dairy brands)
Del Monte
Dole
General Foods
Hannaford Bros
Interstate Bakeries
KFC/Long John Silver/Taco Bell
Kroger Stores
Lipton [BW]
McDonald's
Pepsico
Pizza Hut
Post Foods
Procter & Gamble
Publix Supermarkets
Safeway
Sara Lee
Savon
Shoney's
Warner Lambert
Winn-Dixie
Clothing:

Adidas
Dillard's
DuPont* (Lycra)
Fila
Gap
JC Penney
Kohl's
May's* (Robinson May, Lord & Taylor)
Sears
Wal-Mart
Abercrombie & Fitch
Asics
Big Lots (Pic'n Save)
Costco
Federated (Bloomies, Macy's, the Bon)
Fruit of the Loom
J. Crew
Jones Apparel
KMart
Lands' End
Levi Strauss
Liz Claiborne
Nike
Phillips Van Heusen
Polo Ralph Lauren
Reebok
Sara Lee (Playtex, WonderBra, Sheer Energy) Target
TJ Maxx/Marshall's
Victoria's Secret (Limited Stores)
Winners (TJX Canada)


According to my research, if I want to be a responsible consumer the only clothing I can buy is Patagonia, I will have to shop at my local farmer's market or grow my own veggies. I cannot take drugs from ANY pharmaceutical company, I can only watch PBS or listen to NPR and rather than purchase gas, I need to bicycle or walk.

I don't know what the answer is. Maybe my life and the lives of countless others would be better if we all lived a simpler life and the world wasn't run by crooked politicians and unethical corporations.

I do know that calling other people ignorant isn't the answer.

Discussing these issues can help. Educating ourselves and taking action where we deem necessary CAN make a difference. (I hope.)

So let's talk. What do you think? Are there any companies you boycott? Have you learned anything from this controversy?

Are you going to change the way you shop as a result of this discussion?

Talk to me...


10 comments:

Angry Julie Monday said...

Yea things happen...I can't live in a glass bubble.

Frau said...

I agree with Julie...you have to live but we can all make little changes. I don't shop at Walmart because of how they treat their workers. Have a wonderful Sunday.

brown eyed girl said...

I don't know. I feel like this is very over-rated. I am a graduate student with a very, very limited income. I buy what I can afford because I need to feed me. It's very self-centered and egocentric, but it's what works for me. If I had more money, I think I'd be more judicious about what I purchase.

But at the same time, there is so much bad in this world, there is so much mistreatment, and so much that is jacked up, plain and simple. I can't fight for all these causes.

If someone wants to take a stance against the Nestle family, I would understand that and have no problem with it. If the Nestle family listened to these bloggers concerns and treated them fairly and with respect, I would support that, because maybe these bloggers would impact the Nestle company? I don't know.

But the aforementioned companies constitute most of the major companies that the US shops with, so maybe small changes can be made? I think it's great that people are taking a stance and advocating against mistreatment of workers and unethical practices, and I would support that and do what I can to help. But at the same time, I can't be chastized for my behaviors (buying their products) because a girl's gotta live and eat.

I think it's a tough situation but I don't think the nastiness against one another needs to happen. That leads to nowhere. End rant and off my soapbox now!

Kate said...

I used to do a lot of boycotting when I was younger (collee age). I still think it can be a worthwhile idea...but I try to support GOOD companies instead.

I love to support local businesses and small online businesses (especially if it helps another mom!). If I read or hear about a company that has a particularly humanitarian mission (i.e. Tom's shoes...they give away a pair for every pair purchase...Kona Africa Bikes, etc.) I try to give them my business.

There is enough negativity in the world...I'd rather lend support to those that get it right than constantly looking for who's getting it wrong.

Poolside with the Girls said...

I'd need to know what these companies did that is considered questionable. Not enough info for me to make an informed decision so I have no plans to boycott anything. I guess I live under said rock because I didn't hear anything about Nestle either.

Tara R. said...

Excellent point about the other companies. I saw the Nestle threads on Twitter and was surprised at how personal and ugly it got. I think we need to do what we feel is necessary and best for us and our families, and let others do the same.

Smart A$$ Mom said...

People need to get off the google searches. The internet isn't the holder of it all and anything, I mean ANYTHING can be spun in the way reports/scientific investigations/analysis the researcher is looking to satisfy. b Show me a company with stand up practices and I will show you someone who disagrees. At the end of the day there are only two things you can count on: 1)companies are really doing their best for the sake of their profits and stay afloat. 2)Nobody and no company is perfect. The thing interesting me the most is that the bloggers attacking the Nestle debacle are the same ones who backed Motrin Moms. Which is talking out of both sides of your mouth. Are you agaist big business or are you just hopping on a bandwagon. Nestle didn't get to be one of the biggest food corporations by bad practices. Something, somewhere they were very right. And if we boycotted all the big businesses, it would drive the mom and pop companies to follow the same ways Nestle had to meet a demand: cheap labor and cheaper products. It's simple economics.

Mrs. K said...

i'm going to pretend i didn't even read this list- i can't live without my diet coke. so sue me.

Mrs. D said...

Nope, I will continue to buy from those places. Sorry, I am too shallow to get worked up.

linda said...

Wow, CC, an eye opening post!

 
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