How to choose ethical companies

I am sickened and saddened when I think of the fact that so many companies fall under my personal definition of being morally corrupt. I am dedicating this post to providing an overview of some of the issues close to my heart and discussing how you can do your part in trying to avoid these companies and their products.

Animal Testing:

One plight close to my vegetarian heart is animal testing. I do not understand why these companies would choose this method when there are cruelty free options that yield the same quality results. It is our responsibility as consumers to boycott these companies (as best we can) and let our dollars do the talking.

So what can you do to avoid these companies? I recommend a free app called Leaping Bunny that allows users to find animal friendly companies. In addition to Leaping Bunny you may want to check out Buycott. This app allows you to search causes you are passionate about – such as whether or not a company uses GMO’s or tests on animals. It goes a step further to show you a “family tree” so you can be sure that a company that does not test on animals is not a subsidiary of a company that does. Take a look at this list of parent companies that DO test on animals.

I am proud to say Beautycounter does not test any of our products on animals, nor do we ask others to do so. We do not have our own manufacturing facility; we contract with several independent formulators. These formulators also do not conduct animal testing.

Another point I think is worth mentioning is that Beautycounter also does not test on humans. By this I mean that, if you think about it, most companies are actually testing on us. This is because there is no pre-market approval necessary by the FDA before putting a beauty or personal care product in the marketplace. Neither the law nor FDA regulations require specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients. The law also does not require cosmetic companies to share their safety information with the FDA. It is scary to think of these facts, but its the truth. Think of how many things we are told are safe that turn out to be extremely detrimental to our health. This is even worse because no one is actually claiming it is safe – they are just hoping you don’t find out it is not!

      

Prejudice in the workplace :

Another issue is prejudice in the workplace. For example, I have chosen to boycott the clothing manufacturer, Zara. I loved their clothes for my kids and myself until I found out the company is allegedly run by raging anti-semites. This article goes into detail about how the company culture is affected and the fact that the company has even produced and sent to market clothing with swastikas (see below). It is so outrageous that not only as a Jew, but as a human being, I felt compelled to stop buying from them. I sometimes miss being able to shop their site, but not enough to make me support them and their morally corrupt corporation. It is hard to know which companies are inherently good, but thankfully there are some sites dedicated to ranking companies so that you don’t have to research them all by yourself. Check out The Good Shopping Guide and search based on industry to help navigate the marketplace and separate good corporations from bad.

  

Fair Trade:

One thing to consider that I admit to not being proactive enough about is fair trade. It is very difficult to know who uses sweatshop laborers and who does not. Its just not something I have been conditioned to think about as I shop, but it should be. I am making a concerted effort to educate myself and make better choices. You can see a list of companies that use sweatshops here.

Beautycounter also published a fantastic article discussing what the terms Fair Trade and Direct Trade mean and how they differ from Conventional Trade. In the article they make the point that its important to look for the logos on products to help you know which companies are ethical and which are not.

  

fairtradelogos

GMO, growth hormone, herbicides and pesticide use:

I think its fairly well known at this point that GMO’s, growth hormones, herbicides and pesticides are used on the majority of food sold today and have been proven to be dangerous to humans. If you are unsure of why these chemicals are so bad you can take a look at this article for a high-level overview. On one hand it is unfortunate that it has taken so long for the truth to be uncovered and widely understood. On the other hand it is progress that there is currently a movement to label GMO’s and make organic and hormone-free foods more readily available to the masses. You may have heard of Monsanto- today’s real life evil empire. They are truly an example of how corrupt our system is and how under-protected consumers are. To learn more take a look at this article about Monsanto. I always try to shop either organic or for brands with non-gmo verified labels. Another way to avoid supporting companies like Monsanto is to familiarize yourself with a list of their brands.

Beautycounter also published an immensely helpful and educational article on GMO’s that is well worth a read. One thing worth mentioning that Beautycounter points out is that there are other ways to help beyond avoiding products containing GMO’s and buying organic. You can take a stand and get involved and help affect change on a grand scale. Take a look at the article for more information on how to get involved.

Sustainability:

Sustainability is a term we hear often, yet how many of us truly understand the scope of the topic? Here is a fantastic article titled ‘The Worlds 6 Most Pressing Environmental Issues‘ that gives a good overview of the topic.

A major issue to learn about when discussing sustainability is the palm oil crisis. I have to admit that until recently I was completely unfamiliar with this awful situation. I happened to watch this video by TakePart.com on my Facebook feed and it was a real eye opener. I urge you to watch the video – it is less than three minutes long and well worth the time.

As this article from ‘SayNoToPalmOil.com’ states, “palm oil farming is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations. This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years. ” Very sad to learn.

Beautycounter also published a short, but informative piece detailing how we are a sustainable company. Take a look at this article.

In Conclusion:

I took a stand and am making concerted efforts to be educated on these topics and to always strive to learn more. With knowledge comes power and the ability to make better, more educated choices. Through my research into healthy living topics it has become clear that we cannot blindly trust the government, and certainly not American corporations, to care about our safety or even the well being of our environment over corporate greed and bribes – they surely have proven that they do not.

It is important to not get overwhelmed by all of this. It is flat out impossible to avoid all bad things in life – the important thing is to make small changes and do what you can when you can. It all adds up and even the smallest changes can affect change on a large scale. I choose to look into the companies I am buying from whenever possible. If we choose companies that care, like Beautycounter, we can vote with our dollar!

Thanks for reading!

-Stacy

   

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