Corporate social responsibility
April 28, 2011 8:29 AM   Subscribe

Companies/corporations that use strongly human- and earth-friendly business practices and ethics?

I am interested in buying the things I need (as often as possible, let's say) from companies with strong practices toward fair trade, fair labor, and ecologically conscious/sustainable production. These corporations/companies can produce any type of goods, but I'm particularly looking for the everyday stuff (i.e., more ethical clothing companies than ethical diamond companies). What companies are doing these types of things?
posted by so_gracefully to Society & Culture (16 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One
posted by jardinier at 8:32 AM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

posted by londonmark at 8:38 AM on April 28, 2011

Bob's Red Mill
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:38 AM on April 28, 2011 [4 favorites]

Newman's Own
posted by jbickers at 8:39 AM on April 28, 2011

Frontier Natural Products Co-op
Alvarado St. Bakery (which you might recognize from Michael Moore's film Capitalism where it was used as an example of profit sharing and equality in the workplace)
posted by jardinier at 8:40 AM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day
Burt's Bees
English Retreads

(I'm basing this on the companies' own claims and image, which, of course, you should independently check if possible.)
posted by John Cohen at 8:48 AM on April 28, 2011

You might be interested in cross-referencing against the Human Rights Campaign's "Buying for Workplace Equality" Guide, which provides a qualitative assessment of corporate labor and lobbying practices when it comes to LGBT equality. I'm sure there are other guides with more complete definitions of "ethical" (etc), too.
posted by bcwinters at 8:57 AM on April 28, 2011

For more clothing and non-food supplies, Gaiam is worth looking at. They've also purchased Real Goods Solar, where you can buy a wide range of home goods including heating systems and other such larger items.
posted by jardinier at 8:57 AM on April 28, 2011

I see in your profile that you are located in the US. Still, this entry on Fair Trade is a starting point, with links to different organizations (also or even primarily active in North America) which report on companies allowed to use different certifications. Also, see the USDA's National Organic Program site for organic foods.
posted by likeso at 8:59 AM on April 28, 2011

I forgot to add that the companies can be based anywhere, but I am in the US.
posted by so_gracefully at 9:00 AM on April 28, 2011

Patagonia comes to mind; they are a leader in this area.
posted by TwinBrooks at 9:05 AM on April 28, 2011

[folks, OP is not anonymous take derail to email please, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:46 AM on April 28, 2011

Clothing manufacturers/retailers (such as nau, icebreaker, smartwool, ibex) who use zque-certified wool are supporting ecologically conscious/sustainable fiber manufacturing. Nau also works with recycled fibers. Zque-certification also ensures a degree of animal welfare, in that Zque-certified wool comes from sheep that are not mulsed. do NOT google "mulsing" "mulsed" or the like if you are sensitive to graphic images. Mulsing is a 80+ year old husbandry practice to prevent blowflies from laying eggs on sheep. It's considered inhumane by the RSPCA and other animal welfare agencies. Nau does a pretty good job with minimizing packaging and shipping waste, but Icebreaker has a lot of waste in its packaging as does Ibex, in my opinion.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:00 PM on April 28, 2011

Clif Bar
posted by craven_morhead at 2:56 PM on April 28, 2011

A lot of these are exactly what I'm looking for--thanks!

The Body Shop and Burt's Bees purport themselves to operate under these socially conscious principles (and I'm sure they do as their own entities), but, as far as I know, they are problematic because both have been bought out by larger corporate conglomerates that don't share the same fair/conscious practices... so the money I spend to get a body butter or shampoo or whatever is essentially just supporting the larger corporate entity that's enslaving children/co-opting natural resources in indigenous communities in Africa/testing on animals anyway. These are the exact situations I'm aiming to avoid, but am also hoping to find ways to make it easier to know things like that.
posted by so_gracefully at 6:10 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

You might be interested in companies certified by B Corporation. More info on B Corporation here.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:01 AM on April 29, 2011

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