Inside Philanthropy

A blog on philanthropy and nonprofit news and issues. A publication of Philanthropy Journal.

March 29, 2007

Advocates keep scoring

Efforts to push companies to adopt more socially-responsible corporate strategies continue to bear fruit.

As The New York Times reports, Burger King this week announced it would start buying eggs and pork from suppliers that do not keep their animals in cages and crates.

Burger King made the changes after talks with the Humane Society of the United States and with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, the Times says.

An official of Technomic, a food industry research and consulting firm, told the Times the growing importance to consumers of social responsibility and consciousness likely would prompt industry to see “an increasing imperative to get on that bandwagon.”

As the Times also reports, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck said last week he will use meat and eggs only from animals raised under strict animal codes, while Smithfield Foods, the world’s biggest pork processor, said in January it was phasing out over 10 years the confinement of pigs in metal crates.

These developments follow an environmental deal announced by the Sierra Club and Kansas City Power & Light, and a separate deal between environmental groups and Texas utility TXU.

Yet while foundations preach about change, only a handful have had the courage and vision to use their clout as shareholders to push for corporate change.

And far too few nonprofits have proved willing to get involved in policy work that would advance their mission and benefit their constituents.

Even in China, no stronghold of democracy, 21 environmental groups recently called on the public to boycott products from companies that cause pollution, China’s news service Xinhua reports.

America’s civic sector is rooted in the idea of working for social change that makes our society a better place to live and work.

If foundations and nonprofits truly want to put their money and clout behind their words, they need to speak up more forcefully and work harder for policy change.

The only thing they have to lose is their hypocrisy.


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