The Conscious Consumer

179e18f060734f09713c590d2c709638A friend sent me a link today to the org that used to be Miss Representation, which created an awesome movie about the exploitation of women in the media, body image issues we are passing to our girls etc. The link is to an app to help you identify which companies/products misrepresent women    http://therepresentationproject.org/notbuyingit  or you can search for #notbuyingit on Twitter.

However I think everyone could be a little more consumer conscious, and not just about the issue of sexism, exploitation, and gender stereotyping in advertising, but about all the behind the scenes issues we wouldn’t be thrilled to know we were putting money towards, and this email came right after I just finished listening to Dan Savage’s newest book “American Savage” (on Audible, and Dan narrates HIMSELF) which just nailed the point home in my head. I dont just recommend this book, I think it is a MUST READ to get some serious plain language, even if with a liberal slant, on marriage equality, gun control, healthcare, and a host of other current topics, including what’s got me going on conscious consumerism.

In his book, he explains in pretty clear details exactly how the owners of both Jimmy Johns (sub place) and Papa Johns (pizza) basically ensure their shop level employees don’t get enough hours so as not to have to pay benefits for them, and then lobbied against the Affordable Health Care Act because it was going to cost them $x per sub/pizza whatever because they would have to PAY FINES for choosing to not offer healthcare to those employees themselves. Both of those of companies will no longer be getting my business. Our country, one of the richest in the world, is at the BOTTOM of the list when it comes to healthcare for our people, BOTTOM. So Im done supporting businesses that DONT support humanity!

Think its hard? Its not. We can all be more consumer conscious in small ways. If you know you frequent a business, like say Food Lion, and you have specific cause you are passionate about, let say LGBTQI equality, just check out their policies on that subject. In this case its easy, a simple Yahoo search using “LGBT, Food Lion” gives me a ton of hits showing me their positive stance. However on the LGBT issues, the Human Rights Campaign makes it even easier. They started publishing lists, guides and studies on various topics. The full list is here http://www.hrc.org/resources  but there are so many more lists out there!!!

The HRC Buyers Guide is perfect for those who want to patronize LGBTQI affirming businesses http://www.hrc.org/apps/buyersguide/

For the list of companies supporting ENDA (Employment Nondiscrimination Act) which would protect the LGBTQI in the workplace see here http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/business-coalition-for-workplace-fairness-members

For companies supporting diversity of all types check this out http://www.diversityinc.com/the-diversityinc-top-50-companies-for-diversity-2013/

For socially responsible companies, check out Maclean’s, which is a Canadian magazine report but has many US companies on it. http://www2.macleans.ca/canada-top-50-socially-responsible-corporations-2013/

For more social and environmental conscious companies see B Corps stamp of approval: http://www.bcorporation.net/

Climate conscious, here’s a list of those companies http://www.climatecounts.org/scorecard_overview.php

Glassdoor’s “Best Places To Work” list was created from employee votes! http://www.glassdoor.com/Best-Places-to-Work-LST_KQ0,19.htm

Wanna know the best companies for working mothers to work for? http://www.workingmother.com/best-company-list/146788

For companies supporting reproductive rights go to http://buycott.com/campaign/303/support-access-to-reproductive-healthcare

Incidentally Buycott.com also has apps for Apple and Android, where you can set what your causes are, and then scan the bar codes on items later to see if a product is on your boycott list or not. Its pretty nifty when you can get it to work. Ive had the app since it came out, but user load was killing them so they are in the middle of redesign, and at present I cant get it to work online consistently. But STICK IT OUT, its worth it!!! Here’s the story on them
http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2013/05/14/new-app-lets-you-boycott-koch-brothers-monsanto-and-more-by-scanning-your-shopping-cart/

So believe me if you WANT to be a conscious consumer it isn’t as hard as you think, and of course there are going to be companies which have high marks all around, so why not praise them on your Twitter, FB and blogs so more people will know? Oh and hey pick up Dan Savage’s book while you’re at it, he’s definitely worth supporting!!  Happy shopping!!!

DanSavage                                               ©RavenHarte 1/25/14