Unless you’re a wolf who’s into eating grandmas and blowing down houses, I’m not entirely convinced that big has to be bad.
Okay, before you start with the judgments, allow me to explain what I’m talking about.
We’ve already accepted a number of truisms on this blog; natural, organic, and locally sourced, produced, and purchased products are best for our local economy and best for our health. What I want to explore now are all those options on the B-list. Let’s face it; we don’t always make purchasing decisions altruistically. Sometimes it’s a matter of need. Sometimes it’s a matter of convenience.
At the risk of completely alienating myself and destroying any environmental credibility I might have, I present you with my Big Business confessions. Here are some stores that I shop at regularly (at least once every four months), and here are some reasons why they aren’t conceived and run by the minions of Satan.
When Big Business ain’t all bad:
Aside from having delicious coffee and offering non-dairy options (unlike another incredibly popular coffee chain), Starbucks attempts to contribute socially and environmentally in a number of positive ways. Their Goals and Progress report is available on the company website and clearly outlines the successes and failures to-date. While they did not reach their goal to reduce energy consumption in stores by 25% by 2010, they have successfully engaged 50,000 young people in community support projects – a goal that was set to be achieved by 2015.
Although I love a good second-hand find, I do not have an “off the rack” figure. More often than not, if I’m looking for something specific that needs to fit me well, I go with a sure thing. Luckily, Gap Inc. has been making strides towards social responsibility and transparency. Environmentally, Gap Inc. takes a three pronged approach with an ECO focus on energy conservation, cotton/sustainable design, and output and waste.
It’s close to my house and has a decent organic/gluten-free/dairy-free product selection. ASS gives back through community grants and charities, including Breakfast for Learning. Also, Galen Weston is très hot.
You see? So for those (rare) times that we’re not sticking to the first and best purchasing options, at least we can focus on the potential positive outcomes of our actions. Do your homework. You just might find a bit of silver lining to the big bad business cloud.