A quick and simple think piece on reducing consumption caught our eye this week. 9 Intentional Ways to Challenge Consumerism in Your Life addresses a topic that lies at the heart of resilient investing’s Zone 5 (Tangible Assets/Sustainable Global Economy), yet one that we rarely take the time to really grapple with. Joshua Becker, author of Simplify and Clutterfree with Kids offers up (you guessed it) nine themes to consider, and the comment thread that follows is also rewarding. His core thought is the one in our headline: mindless consumption always becomes excess consumption. If this triggers a twinge for you, then you’d probably benefit from taking a look at what Becker has to say. These two struck us as especially fruitful:
Here’s a piece of good news that’s flown under the radar: sustainability-oriented companies are rapidly becoming mainstream leaders of the corporate world. Nine companies have crossed the billion-dollars-a-year threshold in annual revenues, and several more are not far behind. E. Freya Williams, whose recently-released book Green Giants looks at the traits and qualities that these companies share, proclaims that sustainability-driven firms are no longer “going up against with the big boys. They are the big boys.” And not surprisingly, they’ve been performing like gangbusters:
The Simplicity Collective is a resource on leading a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity. Leans toward the philosophical side, with resources and reflective essays on a wide variety of topics, along with links to books, and a user forum. Visit website.
The Center for a New American Dream works to redefine what the American Dream means – focusing on the connections between a hyper-consumer culture, quality of life, and the environment. It offers numerous programs and tools to help Americans reduce and shift their consumption patterns. Visit website.
Environmental Working Guide has done its homework in producing practical, helpful consumer guides that research and rate numerous everyday items, including beauty products, hair/teeth/skincare, sunscreen, baby products, seafood, lighting, etc. These searchable databases include a wealth of information to help people purchase or use healthier products and foods and avoid the same with unhealthy or even toxic ingredients. See guides.
For anyone interested in learning more about how we make, use, and discard all of our physical products. The project began with a 20 minute video, and now contains many resources, podcasts, etc, on the impacts of our stuff and its disposal on our bodies, environment, etc. Visit website.
Benefit Corporations are a new legal class of corporate structure, now available in over half the states in the US; Benefit Corporations are charged with not only serving the interests of their owners, but also creating a material positive impact on society and the environment. Learn more and find Benefit Corporations here.
An related initiative is the B Corp network, which while not a legal structure, is open to companies large and small in the US and overseas. To be certified as a B Corp, companies must meet higher standards of accountability, transparency, community service, and environmental sustainability. Learn more about the 1200+ B Corps.
This website run by Global Reporting Institute (GRI) contains a searchable Sustainability Disclosure Database of the sustainability and CSR reports etc for thousands of organizations internationally. It is searchable by organization, region, sector, etc. Visit website.
The American Sustainable Business Council works to create a vision and policy framework for a sustainable, market-based economy. The ASBC engages in advocacy targeting policy makers, business leaders, and the public at large on issues including sustainable economics, financial markets, energy and environment, taxes, and worker ownership. Membership includes businesses, organizations, and individuals. Visit website.
The National Green Pages is a green business directory, featuring members of Green America. It contains listings to green products and services, as well as other resources. See directory.
This website provides a helpful tool that allows shoppers to search companies’ corporate responsibility records, by company or industry. It also provides links to dozens of campaigns against corporate misdeeds, in areas including labor rights, human rights, environment, and health and safety. Explore database.
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is an international accounting tool used to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. The GHG Protocol has been used by some of the world’s largest companies, and is also valuable to government leaders; this page lists the companies that are using this important self-assessment tool. Visit website.