Who do you want to support with your spending dollars?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if people could turn these challenging circumstances of COVID-19 into something positive? One of the benefits of COVID-19 has been that our waterways and air are getting cleaner. It’s interesting how quickly it started making an impact and gives hope that it is not too late if we don’t just go “back to normal” when all this is over.

In February, The Earth Island Institute filed a lawsuit in San Mateo County Superior Court, which is believed to be the first of its kind. The Earth Island Institute asked for unspecified damages and an order for Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle USA, Procter & Gamble and six other companies to clean up the plastic waste that the group says has created a global pollution crisis. It follows a rising public outcry about plastics pollution — particularly in the world’s oceans — and initiatives by state and federal lawmakers to force companies to take ownership of the material they use to package their products.

On the face of it, I would say that it is a great start, but you have to ask yourself this. If these big corporations actually cared about our environment and their customers why have they not done something about this before? Why do they have to wait until lawsuits are filed all the while people, animals and our environment have been harmed for decades? Do you think they actually care? And why have they been buying up any of the small natural or eco-friendly companies like:

  • Burt’s Bees bought out by Clorox
  • Seeds of Change bought out by Mars
  • Native and This is L. bought out by Procter & Gamble
  • Garden of Eatin’ bought out by Hain Celestial
  • Cascadian Farm and Food Should Taste Good bought out by General Mills
  • Ben & Jerry’s bought out by Unilever
  • Kashi bought out by Kellogg
  • Bocca Foods bought out by Kraft
  • Lightlife Foods bought out by ConAgra
  • Tom’s of Maine bought out by Colgate-Palmolive
  • Body Shop bought out by L’Oreal
  • Naked Juice, Stacy’s Pita Chips and Izze Beverage bought out by Pepsi
  • Energy Brands, the maker of Vitaminwater, etc. bought out by Coca-cola
  • and many others!

So why are they buying out these companies? Because they now suddenly care about their customers and the environment? I don’t think so. They could have changed their products and packaging decades ago if that was the case. As people have become more aware of some of the dangers of ingredients, the benefits of healthier versions, and the impact their buying decisions can have, big corporations have taken note, and are trying to eliminate the competition.

And if you still think they are changing, and the products will stay the same as when owned by the original small businesses, think again!

After Kellogg Co. acquired the Battle Creek, Michigan-based Kashi, customers worried that Kashi would begin using genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, which were known to be used in Kellogg’s cereals. Controversy erupted in 2012 after a Rhode Island grocer posted a note saying he wouldn’t sell Kashi cereal because he discovered the brand used genetically engineered ingredients. Kashi said it had done nothing wrong and noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the term “natural.”

Cascadian Farm used to be famous for its cereals with “no added sugar.” A few years ago, this label disappeared from its boxes. A Cascadian Farm customer said her children noticed a funny new taste in their Purely O’s. It turned out the cereal had tripled its sugar count to 3 grams from 1 gram in 2009.

Now here’s an idea…instead of relying on the legal system to force big corporations to stop polluting our environment, and have them “green-wash” us into thinking that they just didn’t know, but now they care. Why not use our buying power to no longer support these big corporations? Why not switch our shopping and use our spending dollars on better products while supporting our friends, family and neighbours businesses, and organic farmers that have safer, healthier products and are better for the environment?

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