May 30 2017
Health & Wellbeing/Living in Brooklyn/Money/Saving Money

The Ungodly Number of Companies We Enrich

consumerismI will admit that I’m a Northeastern liberal cliche.  Go ahead – laugh. My borough is a liberal punchline to the country, my neighborhood a liberal punchline to the city and I say with zero irony or humor that kale is my absolute favorite food.

Words like “Monsanto” and “real estate developer” fill me with contempt. I want to tax rich people, provide medical care to poor people and give my children milk from grass-fed cows that have been injected with neither hormones nor antibiotics.

I fancy myself to be someone who makes thoughtful consumer choices that reflect my progressive values — someone who, on average, chooses ethical over cheap, nutritious over unhealthy and sustainable over destructive. I spend time researching the best, or, at least, the least bad options before making shopping decisions.

Hooray for me and all those like me!

I heard a news report recently that a lot of the big consumer brands have been facing decreased sales, with people choosing more fresh, wholesome foods.  I remember thinking to myself, I’m sure the sales decline is also because there are a lot of people like me (yay, smiley face, unicorn!) who actively try to support smaller brands rather than the large corporations who exercise too much power in our democracy.

I mean, yes, my kids eat Lucky Charms on school mornings, and, ok, we do drive through McDonald’s when we take road trips, and, it’s true, I shop at Old Navy, but surely those transgressions are offset by all the wonderfully enlightened choices I make most of the time.

Of course I’m kidding myself.

My values and my desire to shop my values are genuine, but at the end of the day, the vast majority of my money goes to the usual corporate suspects and the destructive, toxic substances and otherwise cheaply made flotsam that they peddle.

This latest war with myself started as I was spreading some Nutella on a slice of bread at work and my friend came over and told me that she heard Nutella might get banned in Europe because it is essentially 98 percent palm oil.  Now, the average person may not care about this. But, God forgive me, I do. The process that makes palm oil possible is awful and it’s something that I’d love to avoid.  Bad enough it’s a key ingredient in my children’s most common meal, that beloved American delicacy known as peanut butter and jelly.

My inevitable internet search for “palm-oil-free-hazelnut spread” ensued, while I ignored the irony that, even as I get in a tizzy about a certain product or company or ingredient when prompted, most of the products I buy are never subject to this scrutiny.

I stare at the blueberries for ten minutes – they look good, they are organic, but… they’re from Chile – entry denied!  Yet in the middle of the grocery store, famous for its pitfalls, I’m just as much of a lamb as the person who could not care less about organic blueberries, factory farms or antibiotics sundaes.

One of my marathon internet searches recently yielded a fair trade shoe company in Ethiopia (Sole Rebels – wonderful company! great shoes!) when I was in need of some boots.  But meanwhile, I am constantly buying clothes and shoes for my children at Old Navy and H&M, where the record for ethical, fair trade business practices is uninspiring, at best. My defense cannot totally be discounted.  I obviously cannot afford two expensive kids’ wardrobes that will each see one season of use.

So what is the solution?

I can’t get anywhere without first trying to arrive at some kind of comprehensive understanding of what sort of world I am buying with my current consumer footprint.

I started making a list of every company that makes every product I regularly buy, and every service I regularly use.

It grew and grew and the longer it got, the more disturbed I became.  If nothing else, the sheer number of businesses and entities I support is staggering. My list became a full fledged “Homeland Wall” of seemingly innocent products owned by multi-national corporations and other unsavory entities I had no idea I was patronizing (Blackstone Group and… Michael’s???).  It showed that, even for an educated and uppity consumer who can be whipped up into a frenzy over ethics, health and the environment… even someone like me who has access to stores that cater to someone like me… success is not assured.  I still very often fail in my quest to shop my values and vote with my wallet.

Is it even possible to fully circumvent the corporate barons of consumer goods?

I mean, I know there are those who do much better than me… people whose kids never eat sugar, who make perfect homemade school snacks, purchase artisan socks and underwear and have no TV in their home. But I don’t know how they do it. Is this not a full time job that requires lots of time, lots of legwork, lots of parenting fortitude and especially, lots of money?  Because you can go on a shopping freeze all you want for yourself, but your kids still need new shoes every year, and new clothes. They still need school snacks. And toothpaste.

Plus…

Aside from my determination not to make it rain for ConAgra, I just read Gary Taub’s The Case Against Sugar, and it was as breath-taking, alarming and mind-blowing as I expected it to be. So I can throw dramatically cutting sugar on to my list of things to take into account when shopping.  If you want a hazelnut spread that has a lot less sugar and is still delicious – it’s going to cost you $14.  And it is made by a corporation who sickened its factory farm workers with a neurological disorder resulting from high exposure to aerosolized hogs brains (which you get from blasting compressed air into slaughtered pigs’ brains, rendering them “pink slurry” – the building block of Spam).

Oh, and it still has palm oil in it. The “palm oil free” hazelnut spread, on the other hand, has beaucoup sugar.

I surrender, hazelnut spread gods.

Still, the larger question remains… how can I run my household and spend money wisely, while also making informed and thoughtful choices that reflect my concerns and values? Save money… or save the world?

It is simply not going to be easy.

Because what I have learned is, I buy millions upon millions of things.

If you were to make a list of the things you buy, including every day items from milk to toilet paper, you might be astonished.  I know this, because I did. And I am.

The list below is not scientific:

  1. I know what “farm” my strawberries usually come from, but not my apples.  Butcher, fish, cheese and deli items tend to be of hazy origin and so this very central category of daily food purchases is not really reflected here. The totally bananas length of my list notwithstanding, food is where a major chunk of my disposable income goes. Any item lacking an identifiable source or maker is not reflected here, so a significant amount of my money is going to whom, I don’t know.
  2. Some things I buy every few days, others far less often.  But if they are on the list, there is at lease some degree of repetition, however infrequent.
  3. I had no idea how to account for for gas companies, as there is no brand loyalty with that one.
  4. This is all me, not my husband.  He buys his own deodorant.  We like to keep some mystery in our marriage.
  5. I know I didn’t think of everything, especially all of my local haunts.
  6. Finally, this is direct patronage.  It doesn’t include the pesticide companies I give money to when I do not buy organic food. Or the trucking companies transporting my goods. Nor any other supply chain complexities.

Still, the list is overwhelming and illuminating.  If only to show just how many CEO’s are setting up their grandchildren’s trust funds with my money.

Birthing the list is merely the starting point.  Step one.  The next (much harder) step will be to take this grotesque snapshot and, piece by piece, give it some version of the Nutella treatment.

Here it is, (almost) every company that I give money to regularly.

Major Retailers/ Apparel:
Amazon
Bain Capital/ Blackstone Group (Michael’s) (!) (binders full of women)
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.
Boden USA
Chewy.com
Container Store Inc.
Costco/ Kirkland
Crocs Inc.
CVS Health
Etsy
Fabric.com
Fast Retailing Co. (Uniqlo)
Gap Inc./ Old Navy
H&M
Home Depot/ Home Decorators
Home Goods
J. Crew
Keen Inc.
Lively
Lowes
ModCloth.com
New Balance Inc.
Nike (Converse)
Overstock
Target
Trader Joes/ Trader Joes brand
Rite Aid
Sketchers USA Inc.
Urban Outfitters (Anthropologie)
Walmart (Jet.com)
Wayfair Inc. (Joss & Main)
Zappos
Wayfair Inc. (Joss & Main)
Zappos

Financial:
Chase
Charles Schwab
Geico
John Hancock
Prudential (British)

Food & Beverage:
Allagash Brewing Company
Andros Group (Bonne Maman Jam)
Barilla Holding SpA (Italian)
Beam Suntory Inc (Knob Creek)
Bimco Bakeries (Thomas’ English Muffins)
Belle & Evans
Bobs Red Mill
Boar’s Head Provision Company
Bumble Bee Foods
Campari Group (Italian)
Con-agra (Alexia Frozen Potatoes, Wesson) (never again!)
Colavita LLC (Red Wine Vinegar) (private)
Crosby Roman (Crosby Wine)
Danone (Stonyfield Farm Milk) (French)
DeCecco (pasta) (Italian)
Diego plc (Tanqueray) (British multi-national)
Driscolls (berries)
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (Motts Apple Juice)
Friendship Dairies (cottage cheese)
Fage (NY based)
Ferraro SpA (Nutella) (Italian)
Fratelli Branca Distillerie (Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth) (Italian)
Frito-Lay
Frontier Natural Products Co-op (Simply Organic spices)
General Mills (Cereal, Fiber One Bars, Annies Mac n Cheese, Annies Gummies, Muir Glen, Progresso)
Goya (private)
Hain Celestial Group (Celestial Seasonings, Terra Chips)
Hoegaarden Brewery
Hormel Foods (Skippy, Applegate, Justin’s (!))
The J.M. Smucker Company (Natural Balance dog food, Crisco)
Kellogs (Keebler, Nutri-grain, Carr’s)
Kraft Foods (Heinz, Polly-O, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Breakstones Butter, Back to Nature, Ore-Ida, Chips Ahoy, Oreos)
Lactalis Group (President Cheese) (French)
Lassonde Industries (Apple & Eve juice boxes) (Canadian)
Lotus Foods (rice)
Lundburg Family Farms (rice) (private)
Madhava Natural Sweeteners (agave)
Maitres Laitiers du Corentin (Petite Suisse Montebourg)
Mars Inc (Orbit Gum, Starburst)
McCain Foods (frozen potatoes)(Canadian)
McCormick & Co (spices)
MillerCoors (Blue Moon)
Nestle Waters (Poland Spring Seltzer)
The Nunes Company (Foxy Celery)
Organic Coffee Company
Organic Valley (Cooperative)
Ornua (Kerry Gold) (Irish) (Cooperative)
Pinnacle Foods (Mrs Butterworth, Vlasic Pickles, Lender’s Bagels, Wish-Bone Dressing)
Sabra Dipping Company
Saturn Farms (greens) (local)
Seapoint Farms LLC (frozen edamame) (private)
Snack Works (Nilla Wafers)
SodaStream (Israeli)
St. Dalfour (jam) (private)
Sugar Foods Corp (Fresh Gourmet Croutons)
Unilever (Maille Mustard, Hellmenns Mayo, Popsicle)
Vincent’s Clam Bar Inc. (Vincent’s Sauce)
Vermont Bread (Matthews Bread)

Personal care/ household:
Alcoa Corporation (Reynold’s Wrap)
Big HeartPet Brands (Milo’s Kitchen)
Central Garden & Pet Company (wee wee pads)
Chattem (Act Anti-Cavity Mouthwash)
Clorox Company
Colgate-Palmolive (Ajax)
Ecover (Method)
European Soaps LLC (Pre de Provence)
J&J (Band-Aids, Tylenol)
Kimberly Clark (toilet paper, napkins)
Lavanila Laborotories (deodorant)
L’Oreal USA (French)
McNeil Consumer Healthcare (Motrin)
Miele (vacuum cleaner bags)
NPIC (Twistix dog treats)
Pilot Pen Corp
Proctor & Gambol (Kid’s Crest, Gillette, sanitary, Cascade, Swiffer, Pesto Bismol, Magic Eraser)
Revive Personal Products Company (Natural Dentist)
SC Johnson (Pledge, Fantastic, Ziplock)
Source Atlantique Inc./ If You Care (parchment paper and coffee filters)
Steward Pet (Pro Treat Freeze Dried Beef Treats)
Sundial Brands (Shea Moisture kids’ wash)

Gasoline:
OPEC? lol

Entertainment/ Kids:
Apple
Barnes & Noble
Choice Hotels
Hasbro
Lego Group
Netflix
Nintendo Co.
Spectrum (cable, broadband, phone)
Spotify

Chain Restaurants:
Duncan Donuts
McDonalds
Starbucks
Subway
Pret a Manger

Local:
Ansonia Chemist
Bad Wife (local grocery)
Bagel Hole
Big Nose Full Body Wine Shop
Bread & Butter (Local lunch deli)
Brooke’s Appliances
City MD Urgent Care
Connecticut Muffin
CKO Kickboxing
C-Town Supermarket
Chop’t Salad Shop
Crespella (lunch spot)
Dizzy’s Diner
Fairway Supermarket
Food Train (local grocery)
Galaxy Collectibles (comic book store)
Game Lab
Gather (cafe)
Hanco’s Vietnamese Sandwich Shop
Kinara Indian Restaurant
La Bagel Delight
Lady Bird Bakery
Leopoldi’s Hardware
James Corbett Salon
Jonny Macks Bar & Grill
Mura Japanese Restaurant
New Hudson Dry Cleaners
NYC Pet
Paper Presentation
Pizza Plus
Powerhouse Books
Prospect Wine Shop
Purity Diner
Sweet Green Salad Shop
Russo (local Italian Deli)
Save on Fifth
Seventh Ave. Copy
Smiling Pizza
Solar Yoga
Tarzian Hardware
Union Market (local gourmet grocery)

Where does one even begin? 

Unless you are an accomplished and deeply disciplined minimalist, it can be overwhelming and somewhat shocking to candidly examine at your consumer footprint in its mind-numbing totality. I think my step two is to define several key, over-arching goalsHow do I want this snapshot to change from a thousand feet up? Then finally, there will be no way around it, I will have to tackle the list bit by bit, starting with the worst of the most frequently patronized companies.

That’s my plan…

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  • Woww! Thank you for putting this together! Oh my god, I had no idea Nutella was made almost entirely of palm oil. That makes me so sad. 🙁 In cases like that, it might be worth learning how to make your own DIY Nutella. Cocoa, hazelnuts, and some kind of oil (maybe coconut instead?) that you can source yourself. I’ve started doing that with more of my foods and, while I’m not saving the Earth, it’s cheaper and generally healthier.

  • I’m exhausted just reading your list. 🙂 I can’t imagine what our list looks like. I get it. We trying and buy more organic, fresh food. Which usually means they cost more. It’s a balance. It will be interesting to see what you research uncovers. I’m sure there are some seedy/shady things some/most of these companies do.

    • I am so curious as to how my list compares to other people. Am I average, worse… better in some areas? I am also afraid of what I will learn the deeper I dig into who makes what and what kind of policies these companies have when it comes to the things I care about. It won’t end well, that’s for sure.

  • This is great Linda! The fact that you took the time to document via this list will make it much easier to consolidate the companies you choose to do business with. Sure, it’s near impossible to completely avoid unethical brands, but any step you make away from them is progress.
    I think certain aspects of my list would be similar in length, although I likely use fewer stores to acquire them. For example, we purchase almost 100% of our groceries from 2 companies, Costco and Walmart. If we lived within city limits, we would probably take the time to source more local companies. I work in the city, but the last thing I want to do is shop during my workday. 🙂 One more thing, I would swap out the Dunkin Donuts for Tim Hortons on my list, being a Canadian and all. : )

  • Damn…you are a much better progressive than I am! This looks like a ton of work, but I think you’re right that there is no real way around it. I should start my own list.

    I’m also really sad to discover that about Nutella. That is tough news to hear. (But also, probably not good that I had been buying it for years without knowing about the palm oil connection.)

    • I have met no one for whom the Nutella info is not a huge bummer. It is one of the most beloved food items on the planet! I would be so interested to see other people’s lists.

  • Linda, this is impressive. It’s discouraging trying to get a handle on controlling how and where I spend my money, and on what and how organic is it anyway. Reading this is exhausting; I can only imagine what it took you to put this together. Great job! Hopefully I’ll take some action after reading this.

    • Yes, during my initial list making I began to collect that info. It is a long process and it can be surprisingly difficult to get the to bottom of who the parent company is for a given brand. Naturally.

  • All I can say is Wow!!! Wow! Linda, this is a fantastic idea. And it made me think about what my list might be like. I’ll start jotting things down as I buy….

    I used to try (keyword: try) to feed my kids ultra healthy, sugar free foods for every meal. I was at the point that I even made my own cereal so I could control the ingredients. And this was during the short time that I was working full-time (and when I wasn’t working I was in the kitchen). Needless to say, it was unsustainable. It’s all a balance!

    • I know – no one can be perfect all the time. I would like to just be better, be as good as I can be. To just have some measure of awareness, at least for the big stuff…

  • Wow, and we’re probably even worse. I realized after I’d bought a bunch of yarn that oh, yeah…Hobby Lobby is not nice. It’s an easy enough company for me to avoid going forward, but darn I liked that yarn.

  • Wow – that’s a pretty intimidating list. We think about this quite a bit too, though I’ll say we haven’t dug as deep as you have, so we may just be fooling ourselves. We’ve got two strategies that I think can help.

    1) Find a local grocery co-op that aligns with your values. Rather than the “big box” grocery stores, we have a local co-op in Madison that focuses on local, organic, fair trade. We’re not talking Whole Foods here either. It’s cheaper than WF and likely more in alignment with our values as well. That said, I probably shouldn’t just be trusting that our co-op is picking perfectly sourced products either. Some due diligence may be in order here.
    2) Buying used. This one isn’t perfect either, but buying thrift does help me placate some guilt. I’m not directly supporting the manufacturer and I’m keeping something that already exists and is perfectly usable from ending up in the landfill. One might argue that me buying thrift is indirectly supporting the manufacturer because I’m enabling the consumers one step earlier to get rid of their stuff and feel ok about it because it’s going to the thrift store.

    In the end, you hinted at the key point – it’s not whether or not we’re perfect – it’s whether or not we’re trying and whether or not we’re improving.

    If enough of us are trying and improving, eventually the tides will turn. It’s taken a few centuries to get to this point – it’ll likely take one or two to unravel it 🙂

    • “It’s taken a few centuries to get to this point – it’ll likely take one or two to unravel it.” These are such wise words Chris!!! Because they acknowledge how huge and powerful this wheel of consumerism and capitalism and corporate power and culture is. No matter how much fortitude, no matter how good our intentions, there is a limit to what we can accomplish on our own and it will take big changes in culture for any real changes to happen. Good or bad, unfortunately. And those sorts of shifts take decades and, yes, centuries. So perhaps the most important thing any of us can do is already the most important thing we do – raise our children to be good and to care. Seriously, this quote is so good. It should be the new motto on the US dollar.

  • I used to be a professional Sustainability Specialist for a very large organization. I’ve had similar conversations with many people.

    You might really enjoy this book:

    Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff, by Fred Pearce

    • Oh thank you – I will definitely check it out. I have made my first step of creating a – lord help me – spread sheet, categorizing every company by frequency. I am going to start with the companies that I support most frequently. Seems like its going to be a big job. A sustainability specialist – that sounds like an extremely cool job, on the other hand! -Linda

  • Love your spirit, Linda. Here’s one for you. Before I became a Gary Taub fan and dramatically reduced my sugar intake, I used to snack every day on Oreo cookies dipped in Nutella. And I easily consumed a couple of gallons of soda and sweet tea every week. Talk about decadence! But thankfully I’ve seen the light and have completely given up sugary drinks, cereal, and condiments. I’ve also cut back dramatically on bread. I’ve lost a lot of weight and I no longer support a number of lame-ass corporations. F-you, Coca-Cola! F-you General Mills!! F-you Heinz!!! Good luck in you quest for progressive consumption. I’m pulling for you, Linda.

    • You always say the best things, Mr. G. Thank you for this awesome comment. I still have not totally solved the Nutella problem. And as I work on my list, I realize that simply pondering the money I give to Amazon alone is where I need to start. Also – good for you on your improvements. You inspire me all the time.

    1. Mr. Groovy 09:20am 20 June - 2017 - Reply

      Love your spirit, Linda. Here’s one for you. Before I became a Gary Taub fan and dramatically reduced my sugar intake, I used to snack every day on Oreo cookies dipped in Nutella. And I easily consumed a couple of gallons of soda and sweet tea every week. Talk about decadence! But thankfully I’ve seen the light and have completely given up sugary drinks, cereal, and condiments. I’ve also cut back dramatically on bread. I’ve lost a lot of weight and I no longer support a number of lame-ass corporations. F-you, Coca-Cola! F-you General Mills!! F-you Heinz!!! Good luck in you quest for progressive consumption. I’m pulling for you, Linda.

      • Brooklyn Bread 10:09am 20 June - 2017 - Reply

        You always say the best things, Mr. G. Thank you for this awesome comment. I still have not totally solved the Nutella problem. And as I work on my list, I realize that simply pondering the money I give to Amazon alone is where I need to start. Also – good for you on your improvements. You inspire me all the time.

    2. Primal Prosperity 11:49am 07 June - 2017 - Reply

      I used to be a professional Sustainability Specialist for a very large organization. I’ve had similar conversations with many people.

      You might really enjoy this book:

      Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff, by Fred Pearce

      • Brooklyn Bread 08:25pm 07 June - 2017 - Reply

        Oh thank you – I will definitely check it out. I have made my first step of creating a – lord help me – spread sheet, categorizing every company by frequency. I am going to start with the companies that I support most frequently. Seems like its going to be a big job. A sustainability specialist – that sounds like an extremely cool job, on the other hand! -Linda

    3. Chris @ Keep Thrifty 09:39am 05 June - 2017 - Reply

      Wow – that’s a pretty intimidating list. We think about this quite a bit too, though I’ll say we haven’t dug as deep as you have, so we may just be fooling ourselves. We’ve got two strategies that I think can help.

      1) Find a local grocery co-op that aligns with your values. Rather than the “big box” grocery stores, we have a local co-op in Madison that focuses on local, organic, fair trade. We’re not talking Whole Foods here either. It’s cheaper than WF and likely more in alignment with our values as well. That said, I probably shouldn’t just be trusting that our co-op is picking perfectly sourced products either. Some due diligence may be in order here.
      2) Buying used. This one isn’t perfect either, but buying thrift does help me placate some guilt. I’m not directly supporting the manufacturer and I’m keeping something that already exists and is perfectly usable from ending up in the landfill. One might argue that me buying thrift is indirectly supporting the manufacturer because I’m enabling the consumers one step earlier to get rid of their stuff and feel ok about it because it’s going to the thrift store.

      In the end, you hinted at the key point – it’s not whether or not we’re perfect – it’s whether or not we’re trying and whether or not we’re improving.

      If enough of us are trying and improving, eventually the tides will turn. It’s taken a few centuries to get to this point – it’ll likely take one or two to unravel it 🙂

      • Brooklyn Bread 11:37am 05 June - 2017 - Reply

        “It’s taken a few centuries to get to this point – it’ll likely take one or two to unravel it.” These are such wise words Chris!!! Because they acknowledge how huge and powerful this wheel of consumerism and capitalism and corporate power and culture is. No matter how much fortitude, no matter how good our intentions, there is a limit to what we can accomplish on our own and it will take big changes in culture for any real changes to happen. Good or bad, unfortunately. And those sorts of shifts take decades and, yes, centuries. So perhaps the most important thing any of us can do is already the most important thing we do – raise our children to be good and to care. Seriously, this quote is so good. It should be the new motto on the US dollar.

    4. Emily @ JohnJaneDoe 01:57pm 03 June - 2017 - Reply

      Wow, and we’re probably even worse. I realized after I’d bought a bunch of yarn that oh, yeah…Hobby Lobby is not nice. It’s an easy enough company for me to avoid going forward, but darn I liked that yarn.

      • Brooklyn Bread 05:39pm 03 June - 2017 - Reply

        I was totally thinking the other day about how every craft store is seemingly evil – what gives?! Life is strange.

    5. Amanda @ centsiblyrich 10:32am 01 June - 2017 - Reply

      All I can say is Wow!!! Wow! Linda, this is a fantastic idea. And it made me think about what my list might be like. I’ll start jotting things down as I buy….

      I used to try (keyword: try) to feed my kids ultra healthy, sugar free foods for every meal. I was at the point that I even made my own cereal so I could control the ingredients. And this was during the short time that I was working full-time (and when I wasn’t working I was in the kitchen). Needless to say, it was unsustainable. It’s all a balance!

      • Brooklyn Bread 04:26pm 02 June - 2017 - Reply

        I know – no one can be perfect all the time. I would like to just be better, be as good as I can be. To just have some measure of awareness, at least for the big stuff…

    6. ZJ Thorne 09:42am 01 June - 2017 - Reply

      Would be interesting to go up the chain and see how many of the companies are in conglomerates or connected via family ties.

      • Brooklyn Bread 04:23pm 02 June - 2017 - Reply

        Yes, during my initial list making I began to collect that info. It is a long process and it can be surprisingly difficult to get the to bottom of who the parent company is for a given brand. Naturally.

    7. Meryl 08:37pm 31 May - 2017 - Reply

      Linda, this is impressive. It’s discouraging trying to get a handle on controlling how and where I spend my money, and on what and how organic is it anyway. Reading this is exhausting; I can only imagine what it took you to put this together. Great job! Hopefully I’ll take some action after reading this.

      • Brooklyn Bread 07:52am 01 June - 2017 - Reply

        It took weeks, and still, things pop into my head, like Bluehost, my blog hosting service. I will keep adding to it. I think a spreadsheet is unavoidable. lol -Linda

    8. Mystery Money Man 09:34am 31 May - 2017 - Reply

      “You’re Canadian?? How did I not know this?”
      Ha, I’m not sure, I thought I was so obvious. Must be part of the mystery. lol.

    9. Matt @ Optimize Your Life 09:11am 31 May - 2017 - Reply

      Damn…you are a much better progressive than I am! This looks like a ton of work, but I think you’re right that there is no real way around it. I should start my own list.

      I’m also really sad to discover that about Nutella. That is tough news to hear. (But also, probably not good that I had been buying it for years without knowing about the palm oil connection.)

      • Brooklyn Bread 11:13am 31 May - 2017 - Reply

        I have met no one for whom the Nutella info is not a huge bummer. It is one of the most beloved food items on the planet! I would be so interested to see other people’s lists.

    10. Mystery Money Man 10:58pm 30 May - 2017 - Reply

      This is great Linda! The fact that you took the time to document via this list will make it much easier to consolidate the companies you choose to do business with. Sure, it’s near impossible to completely avoid unethical brands, but any step you make away from them is progress.
      I think certain aspects of my list would be similar in length, although I likely use fewer stores to acquire them. For example, we purchase almost 100% of our groceries from 2 companies, Costco and Walmart. If we lived within city limits, we would probably take the time to source more local companies. I work in the city, but the last thing I want to do is shop during my workday. 🙂 One more thing, I would swap out the Dunkin Donuts for Tim Hortons on my list, being a Canadian and all. : )

    11. Brian 09:32am 30 May - 2017 - Reply

      I’m exhausted just reading your list. 🙂 I can’t imagine what our list looks like. I get it. We trying and buy more organic, fresh food. Which usually means they cost more. It’s a balance. It will be interesting to see what you research uncovers. I’m sure there are some seedy/shady things some/most of these companies do.

      • Brooklyn Bread 10:43am 30 May - 2017 - Reply

        I am so curious as to how my list compares to other people. Am I average, worse… better in some areas? I am also afraid of what I will learn the deeper I dig into who makes what and what kind of policies these companies have when it comes to the things I care about. It won’t end well, that’s for sure.

    12. Mrs. Picky Pincher 09:13am 30 May - 2017 - Reply

      Woww! Thank you for putting this together! Oh my god, I had no idea Nutella was made almost entirely of palm oil. That makes me so sad. 🙁 In cases like that, it might be worth learning how to make your own DIY Nutella. Cocoa, hazelnuts, and some kind of oil (maybe coconut instead?) that you can source yourself. I’ve started doing that with more of my foods and, while I’m not saving the Earth, it’s cheaper and generally healthier.

      • Brooklyn Bread 10:39am 30 May - 2017 - Reply

        Nutella is at the very nexus of my breakdown. I don’t think I can make my own. lol.

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