We all need clothes and food and other domestic goods. But the companies that create these things have very different attitudes towards people and the environment. Some companies treat their workers well; others badly. Some companies try to protect the environment; others pollute thoughtlessly.
How can we tell the good companies from the bad? I came across a brilliant little book the other day called The Better World Shopping Guide, by Ellis Jones, a professor at the University of California. The book ranks most the major North American companies on their social and environmental practices. It has rankings for peanut butter and cosmetics, toothpaste and frozen pizza, cookies and computers, and pretty much everything else you can think of.
Remember that you have a little bit of power whenever you buy something. You can refuse to buy things from companies that are disrespectful of the planet and its people. If enough of us do the same, it sends a clear message to the company: Act responsibly, or fail.
Check out the book or its website.