ACTION ALERT: Happy Blue Year: Vote with Your Wallet
January 5, 2006
Gar Smith / Common Ground magazine
Here's a resource to help you stop supporting companies that don't support your values. Use the Buy Blue Web site to identigy and reward companies that have a triple bottom line: People, Planet and Profit.
What’s the best auto insurance? The best travel agency? The best bank? If you’re looking to keep your devalued dollars out of the clutches of Earth-gutting corporations, BuyBlue.org will help you separate the corporate Good Apples from the Bad Apples.
On Valentine’s Day, BuyBlue spread word that the country’s biggest chocolate-makers — Nestle, Mars and Hershey — are George-Bush-supporting “red” companies. And you can cut back on those outings to the Outback Steakhouse. BuyBlue dings the eatery for spending “hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying against benefits for low-income workers.” BuyBlue speculates that Outback’s 2004 payback might have been better had management chosen not to spend “$870,000 fighting a minimum wage increase in Florida and health care benefits for low-wage workers in California.”
Buy Blue’s blogs contain such tidbits as a list of the senators who voted for oil drilling in the Alaska Refuge — and a list of the energy companies that funded their campaigns.
Sometimes, BuyBlue’s investigations provide some surprises. “The one thing which none of us thought existed [was] a blue oil and gas company,” the website marvels. “And not just a pale, marginal blue, but a 98.1% solid primary blue.” So, if you want to boycott Shell, TexacoChevron and Exxon (all heavy Bush-backers), tank up with Amerada Hess.
Despite the red vs blue premise, this isn’t a partisan operation. As the founders are quick to explain, it’s not about “supporting Democrats…. Buying blue is about supporting progressive, ethical business practices that enhance the quality of life-inducing living wages and responsible environmental standards.” The website also certifies “apolitical corporations” (i.e., good firms that make no political contributions) because “buying blue is more than a political statement. It is a humanitarian statement.”
Although the blue-list got its start assessing political contributions, the goal is to broaden its ranking system using other standards as well. Meanwhile, BuyBlue has plugged into its own beliefs by choosing a small, non-corporate server to host its website. Drak.net is a progressive, woman-owned business, “which is rare in the hosting world.”
“Ultimately, corporations want to make money,” so consumers have to “prove that our business is more valuable than cheap labor and loose environmental restrictions and tax cuts.” BuyBlue expects to have 1,000 companies and/or brands listed by April.
Contact: PMB 333 50 Bay Street, Suite #100 San Francisco, CA 94133
Buybluestore.com, the official store of buyblue.org, carries products you can use to
display your blueness, incuding Buy Blue Stickers, t-shirts, and static cling window decals ...