I’ve been getting worried about what some big companies have been doing for some time. When I watch the movies Fresh and Vanishing of the Bees, for example, I’m appalled at what some giant corporations are doing to our planet in the name of profits. I noted some time ago that it seems like we’re on a self destructive mission (see post – The accidental suicide of the human race?).
It appears that much of this destruction is being made behind “anonymous” companies using practices that are legal. They are not morally acceptable, really, but they are legal – at least for the moment. Charmian Gooch gave an interesting TED talk recently on this topic where she’s calling for countries to make the practice of setting up companies anonymously illegal. Charmian works for Global Witness which is a non-profit organization that might be worth supporting.
Battle for Bulga
Even when companies aren’t being anonymous in the sense of being deliberately setup that way, they can be sort of anonymous because of their size. You often hear things like “the company” wants to do something or “the company” has decided something. It’s as if the company is a real living thing but of course, if you want to question something there’s nobody at the company you can find to really talk to. Even if you find a company spokesperson, they’ll probably say something like “I can’t really comment on that as the company has decided to…”, again as if the company is a living being with a mind of its own.
These thoughts have been stirred up in me again because of this story from Australia – ABC Lateline Story – where Rio Tinto is doing some open cut mining for coal. Basically it’s creating a huge scar on our planet, and they want to extend it and wipe out part of a nearby town.
Clearly, we are heading in the wrong direction. It’s time to acknowledge it. We are on the wrong road. Only after we acknowledge that we’re on the wrong road can we see that turning back to find the right road is the best form of progress.
Companies we can trust don’t hide behind advertising
Another thing that bothers me is how companies can use advertising to confuse us and trick us into buying their products or services, thinking that these are actually good for us when they are not. It appears to be a game driven by one goal alone – profits.
Some examples can be seen in the posts – The Natural Effect , Can we believe advertising? and Check the ingredients before drinking!
There are companies we can trust
Luckily, the tide is starting to turn. We’re not putting up with the disregard of large companies any longer. More and more good companies are appearing on the horizon. Companies that are clearly trying to do the best things for humanity and the planet, and they are very open about who they are and exactly what they are doing and what ingredients that are using. This is very refreshing and reassuring. Some such companies are highlighted under the Resources > Websites.
There is a non-profit organization called – The B-team (they use this name because plan A isn’t working and the world needs a plan B) – that has Sir Richard Branson as a founding member and a vision statement of;
Our vision of the future is a world in which the purpose of business is to be a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit
and a mission statement of;
To catalyse a better way of doing business for the wellbeing of people and the planet
and a declaration of;
We, the undersigned, believe that the world is at a critical crossroads. Global-business leaders need to come together to advance the wellbeing of people and the planet. In fact, we think business has to think this way in order to thrive.
Now that’s sounding like a future I’d like to be part of.
We are so good at solving problems and creating new technologies, all we have to do is focus that energy and ability on using technology to generate all that we need with minimal impact on people and planet. We can use technology to reduce our impact and make more profits at the same time. The two are not mutually exclusive.
I’m looking forward to seeing this new world unfold, containing a vast majority of companies we can trust.
There are two books listed in the ‘Books We Like’ section of the IDOLOGY website that you might like to read (if you haven’t already). The Hungry Spirit and The Empty Raincoat, both by Charles Handy. He’s described as an elder statesman of business gurus, and the forefather of the spirituality in the workplace movement.
Thanks for the great tip, Jess. I hadn’t read any of Charles Handy’s books before and they look like the type of stuff I’d like to read. I just downloaded the two you mentioned as well as two others that looked interesting. Can’t wait to read them!