Buying or not buying goods and services based on whether a company has sound environmental, ethical, or diversity policies has been around long enough to lose steam.
Many of us want to be conscious consumers. But few of us are, and a lot of us are confused about how to make the right purchasing choices, according to an annual Conscious Consumer Spending Index conducted by Good.Must.Grow, a consultancy for socially responsible organizations.
One of the more disheartening findings of the 2019 index is that fewer people feel they can make a difference with their dollars.
That may change in light of increased awareness about racism.
Consumers and shareholders can play a significant role in requiring companies to do more to promote equality. They also can vote with their dollars by supporting companies that make substantial changes or by investing in and buying from Black-owned businesses.
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, companies ranging from Adidas to Starbucks to Walt Disney have pledged support Black Lives Matter or donated millions to anti-racist causes. Some are changing product lines. For example, Johnson & Johnson launched Band-Aids that embrace diversity by offering bandages in different skin tones.
Time will tell if this is a just a marketing moment or a movement for corporate America. Critics point out that the representation of Blacks in boardrooms and upper management remains woefully low. And to be sure companies will take their lumps for appearing opportunistic.
Dr. Duana Fullwiley, a medical anthropologist and associate professor at Stanford University, called out Johnson & Johnson in recent Forbes magazine article, saying the company’s timing in offering its new Band-Aids was insincere.
Still, consumers have a choice. And economic opportunity is a great equalizer. Investing in or buying from Black-owned businesses now is all more significant since the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated Black-owned and minority companies.
The great re-opening of America and the rest of the world is well underway. So much so, that people are flouting social distancing routines – removing masks and gathering en masse – as if the pandemic was a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it isn’t. And not surprisingly, COVID-19 cases are on the rise. Maybe people in Germany have the right idea. Wearing a pool noodle on my head suddenly seems like a good idea.