Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Who Owns Your Organic Food?

Posted in corporations, environment by allisonkilkenny on March 18, 2009

I made some ownership charts to accompany Andrea Whitfill’s excellent Alternet piece, “Burt’s Bees, Tom’s of Maine, Naked Juice: Your Favorite Brands? Take Another Look — They May Not Be What They Seem.”  Corporate ownership can be very convoluted (especially when dealing with international corporations,) so I’ve found it’s helpful to post the corporation logos to aid in memorization. I tend to instantly forget company names, but I’ll remember their respective logos for years. 

Many organic brand names are owned by huge conglomerates with questionable human rights and environmental records. Believe me, I was not happy or smug constructing this chart. I love Puffins cereal. The peanut butter Puffins? C’mon, I’m only human.

So to all my hippy friends, trying their best: I’m sorry.

Note: Corporations aren’t inherently evil. However, they are very large businesses that have large quotas, so the emphasis is always placed on speed, efficiency, and consumption – not human rights, the environment, and morality. Hence, corporations are prone to immoral behavior, and sometimes, human rights violations. 

There are way more checks on corporations now than there were in the past. That’s not to say corporations are perfect. Far from it. In fact, some are still quite evil (Coca-Cola: I’m looking your way.) But, many corporations are trying to enter the Green Zone because their consumers are demanding they clean up their environmental records. Clorox and GM are two examples of corporations that have tried to mend their environmental records.

As consumers, it’s important not to let the occasional corporate environmental endeavor distract us from a business’s larger model. Some corporations put out one green product to provide cover as they pollute or violate human rights in other sectors of their business. I’m not accusing Clorox or GM of doing this, but it’s important to remain engaged consumers and not blindly yank products off the store shelf without giving thought to where the products come from, who makes them, and what toll they take on the environment.

Also, don’t drink Coke. Coca-Cola is evil