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What’s a Conscious Consumer to Do?
By Holly Testa, Director, Shareowner Engagement

Last week, we analyzed “the high cost of low prices.”  As consumers, how can we make wise choices when the price is wrong? It is a daunting challenge, but tools are emerging to help us make better choices.

GoodGuide rates over 150,000 everyday household products based on the health, environmental, and social impacts. Using the Purchase Analyzer, consumers can directly compare products and companies based on customizable screening filters. The mobile app with barcode scanning allows you to bring this research capability into the store with you.

Green America, a nonprofit membership organization that promotes ethical consumerism, offers Responsible Shopper, a searchable database with corporate responsibility information on hundreds of companies. They also publish the National Green Pages, the only nationwide directory of responsible businesses in the United States.

Consumers can also seek out Benefit Corporations (B Corps). Because current corporate law generally requires that companies place shareowner interests above all others, it can be difficult for companies to take employee, community, and environmental interests into consideration when making decisions.

B Corps have a unique legal structure that expands corporate accountability so that companies are allowed to make decisions that are good for society, not just their shareowners. First Affirmative is now a certified B Corp, joining over 500 other privately held companies who have changed their corporate structure for the common good.

Posted: March 27, 2012