jacketAs promised last week, here is the current list of especially responsible (socially and environmentally) and irresponsible businesses, provided by Responsible Shopper and vetted by The Better World Handbook. The documentation provided to support the company ratings is extensive and all available oline. The Responsible Shopper recognizes the fact that large companies almost always get accused of doing something wrong, and in their detailed profiles of each company, they give credit for each company’s social and environmental programs, and balance these positives against the negatives in coming up with their ratings. The company profiles also list brands and subsidiaries of each company (bet you’ll be surprised how broad the reach of these companies is).

I’ve simplified the ratings and categories, and omitted pure business-to-business companies (like mines) that we as consumers don’t deal with directly. I’ve also omitted the many companies that get a neutral rating from Responsible Shopper.

You can help make business, and society as a whole, more socially and environmentally responsible by avoiding, where you have a choice, the purchase of products and services from the companies in the right column, especially the worst offenders marked with an asterisk. The companies on the left are mostly small and have limited product range, but in case you want to check them out I’ve provided links to their sites. Most of them sell over the Internet.

As noted on my How to Save the World scorecard, my wife & I have stopped buying products & services from the companies on the right. Hope you’ll see fit to join us.

Companies to Support Companies to Avoid (*Boycott)

Appliances & Electronics:
Real Goods Trading
Appliances & Electronics:
Eastman Kodak
Automotive: Automotive:
Daimler Chrysler
(the only major car makers not on the ‘avoid’ list are Honda, Mazda, Subaru & Volkswagen)
Banks, Insurance & Financial Services:

Banks, Insurance & Financial Services:
JP Morgan Chase*
American Express
Bank of America
Bank of NY
Fannie Mae
Fleet Boston
Mellon Financial
Merrill Lynch
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
National City
Brewers, Distillers, Tobacco: Brewers & Distillers:
Altria (Phillip Morris)*
BAT (British-American Tobacco)*
Brown Forman
Real Goods Trading
Two Star Dog
DuPont* (Lycra)
JC Penney*
May’s* (Robinson May, Lord & Taylor)
Big Lots (Pic’n Save)
Federated (Bloomies, Macy’s, the Bon)
Fruit of the Loom
J. Crew
Jones Apparel
Lands’ End
Levi Strauss
Liz Claiborne
Phillips Van Heusen
Sara Lee (Playtex, WonderBra, Sheer Energy)
Victoria’s Secret (Limited Stores)
Cleaning Products:
Abundant Earth
Cleaning Products:
Dow Chemical*
Bristol Myers Squibb
Colgate Palmolive
Kimberly Clark
Procter & Gamble
Sara Lee (Behold, Endust, TyDBol)
Computer Products:

Computer Products:
Advanced Micro Devices*
Computer Associates
Eastman Kodak
National Semiconductor
Drugs & Health:
Abundant Earth
Drugs & Health:
Abbott Labs*
Wyeth (American Home Products)*
Alberto Culver
Astra Zeneca
Becton Dickinson
Bristol Meyers Squibb
CVS/Arbor Drugs
Eli Lilly
Glaxo Smith Kline
Hannaford Bros
Johnson & Johnson
Kimberly Clark
Rite Aid
Schering Plough
Warner Lambert
Uncommon Goods
MCI Worldcom*
American Express
Barnes & Noble
Bell South
Harcourt Books
KB Toys
Qwest / US West
Time Warner
Toys ‘R’ Us
Food Products:
Coffee Traders
Counter Culture Coffee
Dean’s Beans
Equal Exchange
Green Mountain Coffee
Max Havelaar
Thanksgiving Coffee
Food Products:
Altria (Philip Morris)*
ConAgra (Beatrice, Butterball, Hunts, Redenbacher)*
Equal/Nutrasweet (Monsanto)*
Smithfield Foods*
Tyson Foods/IBP Meats*
Archer Daniels
Campbell Soup
Dean Foods
Hannaford Bros
HJ Heinz
Interstate Bakeries
Kroger Stores
Nestle Purina
Procter & Gamble
Publix Supermarkets
Sara Lee
Warner Lambert
Gas & Oil: Gas Stations:
Exxon Mobil*
Chevron Texaco*
Royal Dutch Shell*
Amerada Hess
Conoco Phillips
Pennzoil Quaker State
Valero Ultramar Diamond Shamrock
(the only major company not on the avoid list is BP)
Giftware, Household & Personal Products:
Abundant Earth
Body Shop
Global Exchange
Seeds of Change
Uncommon Goods
Giftware, Household & Personal Products:
Abbott Labs*
Dow Chemical* (Saran Wrap)
DuPont* (Teflon, Silverstone)
Alberto Culver
Bath & Body Works (Limited Brands)
Bristol Myers Squibb
Colgate Palmolive
Glaxo Smith Kline
Johnson & Johnson
Kimberly Clark
Owens Corning
Procter & Gamble
Sara Lee (Dim, Brylcreem, L’eggs, Vapona)
Hardware & Home Improvement: Hardware & Home Improvement:
Dow Chemical* (Styrofoam)
DuPont* (Tyvek, Mylar)
Doman Industries
Fiberglas, Spacesaver (Owens Corning)
Home Depot
Sherwin Williams
Office Equipment, Supplies & Furniture:
Dolphin Blue
Office Equipment, Supplies & Furniture:
Boise Cascade*
Georgia Pacific*
Fort James
International Paper
Jefferson Smurfit
Kimberly Clark
Louisiana Pacific
Mead Westvaco
Office Depot
Pet Foods:

Pet Foods:
Colgate Palmolive (Science Diet)
HJ Heinz (Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘n Bits, KenLRation, Nature’s Recipe)
Nabisco (Milk Bone)
Nestle Purina (Ralston Purina)
Utilities: Utilities:
American Electric Power

Generally, it’s also environmentally (less transportation) and socially (support local labour) responsible to buy local whenever possible, and especially to avoid buying products and services from countries that aren’t free (where sweatshops are generally common and environmental standards are usually low).

So what does Dave buy? I confess I haven’t bought from many of the companies in the left column yet, but here’s who I do buy from:

Airlines: I fly WestJet when I absolutely have to fly. I’ve cut my travel by 70% in the past year, and want to cut it further as soon as videoconferencing improves (and my new business Meeting of Minds will be helping it improve).
Appliances & Electronics: Haven’t bought any in several years, since my Creative Nomad Jukebox MP3 player.
Automotive: I drive a Honda, and my next car will be a hybrid.
Banks & Insurance: I buy Canadian. I may move from my bank to a credit union.
Brewers/Distillers: We buy Canadian, favouring the local microbreweries and wineries.
Clothing: I buy Canadian, and buy nothing from the companies on the list above.
Cleaning Products: My wife outvotes me in this category, since she does most of the work. She does buy from some of the majors, but buys environmentally friendly alternatives when she can find them, and refuses to buy any disposable products (wipes etc.)
Computer Products: I drive a Dell. My wife doesn’t use one.
Drugs & Health: We don’t use or need any, touch wood.
Entertainment: We buy books from a great indy store McNally Robinson. We get lots of channels and music by satellite and internet, so we rarely buy CDs or DVDs. And we live in paradise so why would we need to go somewhere for a holiday?
Food: We buy Canadian, especially in the produce section, whenever possible. We buy premium no-name for almost everything else ( ‘President’s Choice‘ brand is cheaper and as good as the brand names, and almost always locally made). When we eat out it’s at locally-owned restaurants and I continue to increase my vegetarian intake. We’re not coffee drinkers.
Gas: No BP in Canada, so I buy from Sunoco, the least of the evils, or from some of the independents as long as I’m sure they don’t buy from the Esso (Canadian Exxon) refinery. Work from home 3 days a week and hope to increase this further with the new business. Usually fill up twice a month, still too much.
Giftware, Household, Personal: Almost all our gifts are locally made crafts. My wife buys Avon products, and I buy Jason, great, organic cruelty-free products, or Body Shop stuff.
Hardware & Home Improvement: The new ‘radical simplicity’ house will be built with natural straw-bale insulation and be extremely energy- and space-efficient, using recycled materials when possible. Finishes will be local, natural woods, and will be spare and utilitarian. With a wilderness view on three sides, why would we need to decorate?
Office Equipment & Supplies: Paper from Grand & Toy, 100% recycled fibre. Toner in recycled, and recyclable cartridges. That’s all the supplies you need for a ‘virtual’ service business.
Pet Foods: Chelsea eats Performatrin, a US-made house brand sold by Pet Valu, a Toronto-based chain of pet food stores that helps local pet rescues and does not sell animals.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the top 20 donors to George Bush’s campaign are almost all on the ‘avoid’ list above, for either social or environmental irresponsibility.

(Pictured: Patagonia’s fleece hiking jacket made entirely from post-consumer recycled materials)

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16 Responses to THE BOYCOTT LIST

  1. Rayne says:

    There’s at least one error on the list. Saran Wrap is an S.C. Johnson product</a>.It does not recognize the efforts that some of these “avoid” companies are making towards green efforts. For instance,

  2. Rayne says:

    (Sorry, I’m having huge problems with my new keyboard!)one of the companies on the “avoid” list launched a new JV to develop and produce corn-based plastics; the same company is entirely aware that petrochemicals must become a thing of the past and is investing heavily in techonolgies which move away from them. I’ll avoid companies that are making no efforts to make green efforts versus penalizing those that are making a strenuous effort to do so.

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    Rayne: Thanks for the correction. As I mentioned, the Responsible Shopper company profiles do attempt to balance good efforts against bad, which is why some companies (the ones I’ve asterisked) get a ‘red’ irresponsibility rating — because they’re relentlessly irresponsible, while the others are, in many cases, at least trying.Susan: Yeah, I suspect that’s true for a lot of these ‘green’ companies, and there’s a limit on how far you can reasonably go. I’m trying to avoid the irresponsible companies, but we still buy a few things from them, and most of what we buy is from companies that aren’t particularly responsible or irresponsible (i.e. the ‘neutral’ companies that don’t appear on my summarized lists at all). I have the same problem with some of the vegetarian products on the store shelves — their prices are outrageous, and you almost feel as if they’re exploiting people’s ‘desire to be good’. And you’re exactly right about people needing to travel to broaden their cultural horizons. My understanding is that 10% of passengers log 85% of air miles, while 70% of North Americans don’t fly at all in any given year. It’s all a matter of balance. It is true, though, that air travel is extremely environmentally destructive and consumes an obscene amount of natural resources per passenger-mile. In filling in my ‘Radical Simplicity’ workbook I was stunned to find that I consumed more fuel in air travel in 2002 than in car travel despite living in the country and driving into the city an average of 1.5 times a week (I did better in 2003, but now I’m losing my ‘Elite’ frequent flyer status — sigh).

  4. Philip says:

    You drive a Dell cool! Any idea what kind of CPU your Dell has? oops!

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Yeah, I know, Philip. I’m not technologically advanced enough to do without Intel. I’m working on it though. Small steps in the right direction.

  6. mrG says:

    You’ve stopped using Microsoft! Bravo and well-done — the world need far more people in your professional profile to do the same. I’m proud of you.I walked away from Microsoft in 1997 after a year of dual booting. Now when I see what they are continuing to do with their monopoly power, from appointing themselves absolute authority over DRM to once again muscling out the competition (this time it’s RealNetworks who have issued the legal papers), I hold no illusions whatsoever when the Microsofties insist “ph, but this is a new and changed corporation …“So bravo to you again. It takes a lot of courage, you have to give up a lot of things to live Microsoft free, but be assured your life and the world is better because of it.On a sad note, I see Keith Richards has done exactly the opposite, shooing away fans who will not submit to rule by Microsoft. Pity — I used to really respect that band.

  7. David Jones says:

    The work world and non-nerd social world have achieved little in learning to use the Internet, BBSs (one of the world’s greatest and least used technologies – anyone remember FIDONET?)and other new age information technologies.That’s a large part of the reason why people still travel, part of the reason video conferencing is still awful and not used often or well, and why non-converts have nothing but disdain for e-mail because “it doesn’t show non-verbal cues and is a poor form of communication!” Ha! %<)

  8. MuckDog says:

    So, avoid cars, technology, fossil fuels, utilities, hardware stores, and pet food. Got it!Thank goodness I can still get a cup of coffee!

  9. The choice for a processor is Intel or AMD, unless you buy a Mac.

  10. k says:

    MuckDog, Hmmmm I guess you can still have coffe… Just make sure the coffe is shade grown coffee, raised under the Jungle canopy instead of a field grown up on land that was cleared of tropical rain forest. Oh yeah, and make sure it’s grown localy too. Come to think of it… you better skip that coffee ;-)

  11. k says:

    I should have put this link in for muckdog’s caffeen adiction

  12. Todd says:

    Great list! I invite you to consider Capers Markets in the food/supermarket section as a good company to do business with. Although located only in Vancouver and actually owned now by the US-based Wild Oates company, they have a good track record of supporting local, organic foods, removing products where production standards have fallen, and informing the community and helping organize a voice of opposition to GM foods. When a hepatitis-A outbreak happened at a Capers store last year, they did the right thing and raced to the media and set up free vaccination services for anyone who was worried. They took a 30% hit in business for the better part of a year after, partly because they were honest about what happened rather than hiding behind lawyers and denials. Thanks again for the list – it’s very helpful.

  13. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks, Todd — for your comments and for the additional responsible company recommendation.

  14. Charles says:

    From enthusiasm comes determination. If you complain and do nothing then you remain a “Consumer” not a true “Citizen”. Just boycott ALL oil co.s by getting your fuel “once” a week only and spending only a set amt. of “cash” not credit cards. When fuel runs short you walk,don’t go or take public transit. Bank only once a week. Millions would be lost by the banks if we all banked once a week and up to 700 million dollars would be lost here in Ont. Canada if we all did the speed limit for one year! Millions per year saved on tire wear per year,your money not theirs. Keep your vehicle maintained regularly. 15% of a Canadian’s budget is spent on Entertainment,drugs,alcohol,tobbacco and gambling eat up 20 Billion dollars of your money,at least here in Canada. To Boycott demands a very strong set of personal guidelines,philosophy,enthusiasm and education. ALL oil based products must be boycotted by severe limited use and healthy alternative aproaches. You should include ALL prescription and over the counter drugs. Seek other bonifide methods of health care. Strict budgeting education must be available to everyone. So the price of gas for me only went up twice since 1992. I only moved twice and only spent a set amt. of money per week on gas. Despite the price fluctuations,some weeks I got more for my money and some weeks I got less but the OIL COMPANIES never got more than their “allowance”. Don’t by gas on “cheap days” as that gives the Co.s the opportunity to store their gas in your tanks,fill up the gas stations they own with new stocks and raise the price the next day and make more profits at a quicker rate thanks to you. They make you think they’re being kind to you on Monday and you forget and tolerate their abuse on Tues. Then by Fri.when you may need fuel again they raise the price because they know you have been softened by the “cheap” Monday gas and think that “well Monday will make up for Fridays loss”. And around you go like a dog chained to the post,barking in circlesnot knowing that the chain was actually removed after your conditioning and that actually it is you who have imprisoned yourself. So DO SOMETHING or SHUT YOUR FACE and GO ALONG!

  15. Ali says:

    Thanks for this helpful list – here’s my problem with it: by removing all of the neutral companies and barely listing any good companies it seems like there are few places that are OK to shop, and this turns responsible shopping into a huge chore. For people who are gung-ho that’s great, but for those who are just breaking into the movement and beginning to make changes a list like this is overwhelming and disempowering – too much change and effort at once. What would you say to them?Why was Toyota on the companies to avoid list; aren’t they one of the greener car companies of them all? Is Southwest an OK airline to support? Also, Clorox just came out with a green products line that was endorsed by the Sierra Club. Some suggestions:-for cleaning products: Seventh Generation and Method.-clothing: American Apparel

  16. Ali says:

    Please disregard that comment… I didn’t realize how old this post was at first.

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