"Why should a human rights group build markets for tropical forest products?" This often-asked question relates specifically to why Cultural Survival does it, but it also gets into how we do it and what we are accomplishing.
Tropical rain forests are the earth's oldest, most productive, most diverse ecosystems. They cover less than 2 percent of the globe yet support nearly half of all species - as many as 25 million kinds of plants and animals. Some 2,000 forest tribes and more than 200 million people live in tropical rain forests.
These treasured lands are the target of uncontrolled exploitation: by debt-ridden countries looking for quick cash, greedy ranchers making enormous shortterm profits, and land-starved peasants searching for homes. The National Academy of Sciences reports that over 50 million acres of rain forest are seriously degraded every year - 10 acres a minute. More than half the planet's tropical rain forests have been degraded, and as many as 100 species disappear every day. Unless this destruction stops, rain forests will disappear in the next century. The social, ecological, economic, and political ramifications will irreversibly damage the health of the earth and all its inhabitants.
Fortunately, the world has become aware of the value of this irreplaceable resource, yet few Americans realize that rain forests can't be cut until you remove the people that are indigenous to them. And that is what is happening. since 1900, one Indian tribe has disappeared from Brazil each year; 90 out 270 groups are gone and, in fact, the rate of cultural extinction is much greater than the rate of environmental degradation. This takes place even though Brazil has excellent laws to protect Indian rights, while international laws and covenants exist against genocide and for indigenous people's land rights. This tells us that laws and international agreements are not enough.
One prerequisite to stopping the destruction in Brazil and around the world is that the people living in rain forests organize to defend themselves. This is part of what Cultural Survival exists to promote. We realized that advocacy, publicity, and press releases alone wouldn't save people, that most of our efforts and money should go to projects that indigenous people themselves design and run. Some of these projects have focused on urgent needs - health care, ethnocide, and even genocide - but most aimed to protect land and human rights and help groups organize themselves and manage their resources.
Like most human-rights groups, we once stopped there. However, it became clear that if you help people produce for the market more efficiently from an environmental and social point of view, it is also necessary to get involved in negotiations to give them a better price for their products. Otherwise, a group will enter the market economy at the bottom - and stay there forever. People who are discriminated against socially and culturally can't be expected to compete as equals in the marketplace.
CULTURAL SURVIVAL ENTERPRISES
Yet compete they must. Even the most isolated peoples in rain forests, with few exceptions, have needs that only the marketplace can meet. This is true in the Amazon basin, and it's true in the Amazon basin, and it's true in Africa and Southeast Asia. We might leave such groups alone, but others won't. We could even think about building a fence around them, or around the whole Amazon, but these options aren't workable. And if the destruction of their land continues at its present pace, all will be over for them soon.
For this reason alone we must act quickly. This is where the links between human-rights violations and poverty on the one hand and environmental degradation on the other enter in. It turns out that the most successful strategies for conserving rain forests maintain their natural biodiversity and meet the economic needs of forest peoples.
What can we do? Cultural Survival hasn't abandoned its work on land rights, political organizing, and sustainable development; we have added a dimension to it. Simply put, we seek markets for sustainably harveted rainforest products that can help support those who live in the rain forest. In 1989, Cultural Survival established Cultural Survival Enterprises to establish and test an alternative income-generation model based on marketing rainforest products. CSE works with rainforest communities to expand their income through sustainable extractive activities.
By developing markets for products that are harvested without destroying rain forests, we provide indigenous producers, First and Third World governments, NGOs, international banking organizations, and development agencies with a compelling economic incentive to protect the rain forest and its residents. Eventually, our goal is to work with indigenous groups in many ecosystems, and not just in the Amazon but in North America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East as well.
CSE concentrates on the trade in nuts, fruits, oils, resins, essences, pigments, and flours, purchasing only commodities that exist on markets already because creating new outlets could be environmentally destructive. CSE also doesn't approach producer groups until companies tell us which products might have markets outside the region. Why raise false hopes if no markets for the samples are found?
CSE currently works with non-wood and non-medicinal products. We are concerned about the sustainability of wood harvesting in tropical forests, although an excellent case can be made that this is going ahead in a responsible way in some areas of the Philippines and Ecuador. Thus, CSE is reconsidering its position on wood products as more data comes in.
Similarly, CSE won't trade in medicinal plants until rights can be negotiated - e.g., plant rights and royalties - for the people in the rain forest. After all, these groups have long protected their ecosystems, and often identified the plants with the very properties pharmaceutical companies want. The West needs to pay for the right to use them for medicines if people in the rain forest are to be able remain there and protect this global resource.
In its first two years, CSE purchased samples of about 350 products from existing markets in the Amazon, 40 from Central America, and 90 from Indonesia, and showed them to 92 North American and European companies. Various businesses expressed interest in about 50 products, eventually ordering larger samples of 25. The firms range from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups created to market rainforest products and put porfits back into the rain forest.
A few examples illustrate the variety. Community Products, Inc., a startup, makes nut brittle and sells it to the public as candy as well as to Ben and Jerry's for Rainforest Crunch ice cream. A second CPI product is a cookie made from Brazil-nut fines, the pieces that are too small for the candy. But rather than manufacture the cookies themselves, CPI has turned to the Greystone Bakery in Yonkers, N.Y., which trains and employs jobless and homeless individuals. The Body Shop and some other companies sell products with rainforest ingredients, but don't make most of their own items; these firms have required their manufactures to purchase the items directly from Cultural Survival Enterprises.
Finally, many manufacturers find it difficult to get single products into large retail chains. In these cases, CSE has begun to approach retailers with five or ten different products and discuss how to market them from a single, special display. This is how CSE is reaching both mass markets such as Target Stores, with 450 discount outlets, and specialty markets like The Nature Company.
Once CSE identities a product, it approaches local groups - initially, Brazilian Indians and rubber tappers - to see if they want to produce it for sale and also process it in the forest or nearby towns. At the same time, CSE asks botanists which products of interest to companies can be produced sustainably, which shouldn't be produced at all, and which ones raise questions or concerns. The botanists' answers go into databases that are available to other groups and scientists.
This database is critical. Ironically, a tremendous amount of botanical research in the Amazon is on special with no commercial value, but little is known about some of the most economically rewarding plants. For example, nobody knows how long a Brazil nut tree lives. Nobody knows how they reproduce, the number of seeds that take root, or whether the seeds are planted by animals or Indians or simply drop to the ground. Nobody knows how many nuts an average Brazil nut tree will produce. Yet such information is needed to determine the impact of harvesting even the current levels of Brazil nuts, not to mention a project that would increase the size of the harvest. A market for such a product exists when consumers believe their purchases help save rain forests. If that is proven wrong, the markets will fade as fast as they were created.
When the information comes in from the potential producers and the botanists, CSE analyzes the current markets for a commodity, since each has a different production and marketing system. Copaiba oil is different production and marketing system. Copaiba oil is different from andiroba or babassu oil, even though they all can be used in personal-care products. And each differs from Brazil nuts or cupuassu seeds, which can go into personal-care products, candy, and ice cream. Each product tends to have a distinct set of producers, merchants, and processors. Understanding this system shows where to intercede to make it more productive, when local people should process their own products, and when it isn't worth anyone's effort.
A NUT STORY
One common product that CSE markets is a major commodity - Brazil nuts. This effort entails restructuring the existing market so the people collecting the nuts get more money. In 1989, the members of a cooperative who gathered Brazil nuts in Xapuri in Acre in western Brazil, were receiving 4 to 5 cents per pound. This was 2 to 3 percent of the New York wholesale price. The rest of the "value" that was added went to a myriad of traders and large nut-shelling factories. Even so, co-op members earned 3 to 5 times as much from a given area of land as they would for producing and selling beef in the local marketplace. If CSE could push the return to the co-op to an amount closer to that on the New York market, their returns relative to those for producing meat would rise higher still.
Note that this comparison to beef is based only on income from Brazil nuts. It excludes rubber or other commodities extracted from the same area. Moreover, the figures for cattle exclude the costs to clear the forest, plant pastures, build fences, buy breeding stock, lose some cows, and any other costs associated with producing beef. What's more, the nut industry generates many more local jobs. The reasons anyone produces beef relate more to land speculation, who profits, and who fills the jobs that are created.
To change this system, the Xapuri co-op organized itself to transport nuts to a city, immediately doubling their income from nuts. Then, in 1990, CSE financed the first nut-processing plant in Xapuri that is owned by the forest residents who collect the nuts. This processing plant should allow the collectors to earn about 10 times as much from their nuts - and generate more jobs.
Since 1990, CSE has provided working capital to the co-op. Loans to finance the co-op's day-to-day needs have been made up front and also through advancing credit based on agreeing in advance to buy the product. We are looking for other innovative mechanisms to finance the expansion of this factory and the construction of similar ones elsewhere through loans that could be repaid in produce.
In the coming years, we will work with the Xapuri co-op to add even more value to their produce locally. For example, a small oil press will allow the co-op to process rancid nuts for oil, yielding an internationally tradable item from an otherwise worthless byproduct. With a new shelling system, members could shell nuts at home and bring the finished, more valuable product to the factory for classification, drying, and packing. This makes the factory more efficient and reduces the number of nuts lost through spoilage. It also reduces the weight and volume of nuts to be transported by about 60 percent, cutting transportation costs by about the same amount.
Brazil nut commercialization efforts can from the collateral to develop other income-generating programs. Each success lays the groundwork for the next venture, increasing the long-term viability of co-ops by diversifying production and income. For that reason, in 1991 CSE began to look at the viability of other products: rubber produced at a co-op-owned processing plant, copaiba, vanilla, and vegetable ivory. The less dependent a co-op is on one product or buyer, the less it risks financial failure.
By 1900, 17 companies had produced 21 rainforest products. Some 75 others were testing products and determining availability, quality, and marketability. Sales of forest products rose from $330,000 in 1990-91 to $1.2 million in 1991-92. In 1992, in addition to its Amazon programs, CSE marketed products from local producers in North and Central America, other regions of South America, EAst and Southern Africa, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This year, CSE will sell an estimated $2.5 million in forest products to 26 companies making nearly 40 products.
CSE plans to expand the marketing of non-food items as well as identify products from other countries with rain forests at a more rapid pace. Still, if marketing is to expand significantly - that is, better achieve its political goals - it eventually must involve mainstream companies with no inherent interest in tropical forests. The current concern for tropical forests. The current concern for tropical forests. The current concern for tropical forests will convince some firms that a move to handle rainforest products is wise marketing. Indeed, that's why Target Stores is now experimenting with rainforest products. Such efforts could demonstrate to producers, exporters, international companies, and governments that money can be made through maintaining tropical forests and marketing sustainably collected products.
Nevertheless, in the long term, the new systems can't be subsidized. If they don't work financially, they won't last, because the international attention that allows a short-term subsidy could easily wane in a few years. Thus, since public interest and marketing trends shift rapidly, it is important to find new markets for rainforest materials now. Today's attention helps CSE capture a corner of the marketplace, so the taste and demand for rainforest products won't disappear when environmental concerns fade.
Advertisers would have you believe that by purchasing their product you will change your life. At the very least, they suggest, when you buy a certain product you make a public statement about what kind of person you are.
They're right. As a consumer, you affect lives far beyond your own. Your choices directly affect the people who sell you a product - and the people involved in making, packaging, and shipping it. Your decisions imply agreement to the conditions under which the product was manufactured and brought to you. Every time you buy something, you automatically participate in an invisible chain of both people and resources.
It makes sense to consider this chain when deciding how to spend money. Make the power of your purse work for what you care about. Use your money to benefit indigenous people and ethnic minorities and to conserve scarce natural resources. Investigate the invisible chain to learn about the practices and policies of companies you currently support. Promote companies with beneficial practices by purchasing ("buycotting") their products and encouraging others to do the same. Send a message by refusing to buy certain products. And if you have money to invest, invest based on a company's human-rights, environmental, and fair-trade record.
THE POWER OF KNOWLEDGE
Whether you boycott a company whose practices hurt indigenous communities or buycott one whose practices help, you need complete, up-to-date, and accurate information about a company's policies and practices.
Finding that information can be tricky, but it's possible with persistence. You can research on your own or seek out a corporate-research organization.
For independent research, scour newspapers and magazines, and check out newsletters and periodicals from organizations such as Cultural Survival.
A good source for information on the practices of U.S. companies operating both here and abroad is Multinational Monitor ($25 per year). This monthly magazine focuses on such issues as labor relations, the environment, and indigenous peoples' rights and has featured articles on conflicts between multinational corporations and indigenous people. in September 1991, it featured the indigenous in Guyana and Indonesia.
You can get help in your investigation. Most of the following groups don't specifically gather information on corporate policies towards indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities. Rather, they focus on the more general topic of corporate (lr)responsibility. These organizations research and evaluate companies based on a wide range of criteria, including environmental and labor records, community relations, animal testing, weapons manufacturing, holdings in South Africa, and the number of women and minorities in high-ranking positions.
The Data Center, a non-profit, public-interest library and research center, provides in-depth information on U.S. and multinational companies collected from publications and on-line databases. The center offers customized research and can investigate a particular firm and its practices towards indigenous peoples. It publishes the monthly Corporate Responsibility Monitor, reprinting article on human rights, the environment, and nine other topics ($450 per year, with a substantial discount for nonprofit groups).
The Council on Economic Priorities, a non=profit, public-interest research organization, rates the policies and practices of U.S. corporations on a variety of social criteria. CEP offers some customized research on firms whose environmental record it has evaluated. It Corporate Environmental Data Clearinghouse has information on 35 major corporations (45 more are in the works) and issues a 15-30 page report on the environmental and community impact of each. CEP also publishes a monthly Research Report, and Shopping for A Better World, an annually updated consumer guide that rates producers on social criteria. Both come with the $25 annual membership fee.
The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a church-based coalition, is one f the principal organizations that research corporate responsibility and responsible investing. Its newsletter, "The Corporate Examiner," (10 issues for $35) covers the policies and practices of major U.S. corporations on human rights, the environment, nuclear weapons, and labor. For those interested in responsible investment, ICCR also publishes the Directory of Alternative Investments ($15).
CERES (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies) is a non-profit organization dedicated to incorporating environmental principles into corporate and investment practices. It has developed the Valdez Principles, 10 statements of corporate environmental ethics that it encourages businesses to sign. CERES also publishes the CERES Environmental Report Form, assessing the environmental record of signatories as indicated in company-drafted reports.
Corporate evaluations are also available from many organizations involved in socially responsible investing. Look at the newsletters Clean Yield, Franklin's Insight, GoodMoney, and Business Ethics (see profiles below).
If a company's policies threaten indigenous and minority communities, use your role as a consumer to register disapproval. Initiating or joining a consumer boycott is probably the most effective way of making a company notice your cause and changing its policies. Company executives notice when sales fall and their public image is diminished. A vocal minority of dissatisfied consumers who publicize their boycott and make frequent appeals through calls and letters can push companies to change.
Be aware, boycotts require effort and patience. While it is fairly simple to swear off a product, your action can have little effect by itself. Even with strong support, it can take a long time to persuade companies to change their practices.
National Boycott News lists boycotts called by human-rights, animal-rights, peace, labor, and environmental activists. While it doesn't endorse the boycotts listed, it says why they have been called. The magazine includes boy-cott updates and buycott information. It has listed boycotts of companies whose activities harm indigenous communities in Sarawak, Malaysia; Latin America; and the United States.
Co-op America Quarterly: A Magazine for Building Economic Alternatives (free with annual membership of $20), the quarterly publication of the organization by the same name, contains a section called "Boycott Action News." This includes in-depth boycott profiles and a listing of companies against which various public-interest groups have called boycotts.
If you are considering launching a boycott, do your homework before going public. Study the issue at hand, learning about the corporation, the peoples, and the region involved. Pursue the investigation at libraries, local organizations, and by consulting experts. Ask people to refer you to useful organizations and people in the know.
After completing the basic research and checking out the allegations against a company, contact the company itself. Write a neutral (and polite) letter of inquiry to the company's public-relations department.
If you decide to embark on a boycott, notify a boycott clearinghouse and contact human-rights and other social-change organizations to ask for support. Start a letter-writing campaign to the company, clearly and politely addressing the reasons for the boycott. Send copies to the public relations department. To increase your power, let your friends and community members know of the campaign. Encourage your school, workplace, religious community, and other groups you are involved with to support the effort. Enlist helpers to distribute leaflets at shopping areas, schools, and community events. Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper. You can even produce and sell t-shirts, buttons, or bumper stickers to spread the message.
Be imaginative. Organize an educational film or lecture around the boycott issue and have tables for letter writing or petition signing. Seek out sympathetic local businesses, explain the reasons and goals of your boycott, and ask for their cooperation. If you are artistic, express your message visually, in song, or through guerilla theater.
One way to support indigenous people is to donate directly to indigenous-run organizations working for land and resource rights, human rights, education, sustainable development, and political representation. For a list of organizations, write to Cultural Survival.
Seek out "alternative trade organizations" (ATOs), which are set up specifically to sell products from developing countries. ATOs favor small producers who find it difficult to undertake export trade without a sympathetic marketing partner. They are especially interested the structure of the producer group - many work only with democratically run organizations.
ATOs pay fair prices and will often give advance payments on orders. Several also provide producers with technical assistance, such as market research and advice on product design, technology, and packaging. Most also try to educate customers about the people and processes involved in production.
There is also a growing trend of innovative companies that use their power in the mainstream market to promote social causes ranging from rainforest conservation to animal rights and inner-city employment. In recent years, Cultural Survival has forged partnerships with many such companies, like the Body Shop, Community, Products, Rainforest Essentials, R.W. Knudsen, From the Rainforest, and Cloud Nine. All companies CSE works with agree to pay 5 percent above the market price for commodities, as well as providing some form of revenue sharing. These fees are companies have licensing agreements with CSE that allow them to use the name of Cultural Survival, earmarking a percentage of their profits for CSE programs.
You can support trade that benefits indigenous communities by promoting alternative-trade and socially conscious companies and products in and around your community. Multiply your power of the purse by joining with others in a buycott in favor of specific companies, products, or producer groups.
The steps for creating a buycott movement parallel those for boycotts. Once you determine the "targets," advocate your product. Call, visit, and write local stores and encourage them to carry the item. Combine information about your cause with evidence of the product's potential profitability. Bolster the letter of appeal with a list of signatories.
Mayan crafts and Trade Wind trade exclusively with indigenous people. Mayan Crafts works primarily with Mayan Indian women from Guatemala and displaced-people projects. It works directly with groups in Guatemala that have established craft project and training programs in human rights and literacy. Products include textiles, clothing, bags, dolls, jewelry, and handicrafts. Mayan Crafts sells to individuals and also wholesale, and it gives 65 percent of the profit to producers. It also has resources and slides on Mayan women.
Trade Wind sells clothing, textiles, and jewelry from 20 peoples of the Americas. Half the gross income goes to the producers, with the ultimate goal of native self-sufficiency. It has a catalogue for individual customers.
A number of organizations do some trading themselves but primarily seek to connect producers in Third World countries with the U.S. marketplace. Aid to Artisans, a nonprofit organization, helps artisans by introducing their products at craft shows, locating U.S. importers, providing them with grants, product development, training, and marketing. They don't sell to individuals but will take orders for products from retailers. In addition, they work with Mayan Indians in biosphere reserves in southern Mexico.
The Fair Trade Foundation connects the 200 producer groups in 40 countries identified as meeting the foundation's social and environmental criteria to wholesalers, retailers,a nd consumers. Handicrafts are available from a catalogue.
INVESTING IN CHANGE
To put your money behind values you believe in, become a socially responsible investor. You don't need an enormous disposal income to be an investor activist. Consider pooling your funds with those of like-minded individuals.
There are many ways to become an active and responsible investor. you can invest only in companies, banks, and other financial organizations that have been evaluated by screening agencies. Some advisers cater to the preferences of socially conscious clients. You can also invest in institutions that fund community development. And you can file resolutions about the corporate practices of companies in which you own stock. If you continue to be unhappy with an institution's activities, divest.
Your bank or financial planners may offer social-investment services. If you can't find such services, contact the Social Investment Forum, a national association of financial professionals, research and community organizations, and publishers active in promoting and practicing socially responsible investing. It's membership directory, The Social Investment Services Guides, lists investment advisors, investment funds, information sources, venture-capital firms, and community-loan programs that afford opportunities for responsible investing. Its quarterly newsletter, "The Forum," reports on social issues, profiles members, and reports on the performance of socially responsible mutual funds. Both are free with a $35 membership.
Franklin Research and Development Center gives investment advice of socially responsible investors. It rates firms on several criteria and focuses on U.S. companies here and abroad. Its monthly newsletter "Insight" ($19.95 a year) covers the social performance of different companies nd makes investment recommendations based on this research. Franklin also provides information on investing in Native American communities.
Good Money Publications, Inc., provides consulting, customized research, and portfolio audit services to individual and institutional investors. It publishes Good Money's Social Funds Guide ($19.95), a guide to social and environmental mutual funds, and Social Investor Strategy Reports ($20 per report) on such issues such as the environment and military contractors. Its bimonthly newsletter, "Good Money," ($75 per year) reports on publicly traded companies in the context of social responsibility.
Clean Yield Publications offers investment advice and services. Its monthly stock-market newsletter, "The Clean Yield," ($85 a year), for socially concerned individual and institutional investors, features socially responsible publicly-traded companies.
Co-op America offers socially responsible investment opportunities in conjunction with First Affirmative Financial Network. Co-op America Quarterly: a Magazine for Building Economic Alternatives has a section on "Socially Responsible Investment." Co-op America publishes an annual Directory of Responsible Businesses and Organizations.
Loring, Wolcott and Coolidge will tailor investment services to meet criteria set by the client. Calvert Social Venture Partners is an investment company that seeks socially concerned investors to fund newly-established businesses with socially responsible practices.
Business Ethics Magazine profiles socially responsible companies and executives. It has a directory of businesses that are socially responsible or provide socially responsible investment advice.
A good way to channel your spending toward social change is with a credit card that donates to progressive organizations each time you charge something. Working Assets Visa gives 5 cents of every charge to groups working for peace, human rights, and the environment.
CORPORATE RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS
Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies
711 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02111 (617) 451-0927
Council on Economic Priorities
30 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003-2386 (212) 420-1133.
Corporation reports are available at $20 for individuals or nonprofits with a budget under $200,000, $60 for nonprofits with a budget over $200,000 and $100 for corporations.
The Data Center
464 19th Street, Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 835-8692.
Customized research costs $75 an hour with additional fees for photocopying and database accessing. TDC gives non-profit public-interest groups discounts of up to 75 percent. Bay Area residents can use the library for a flat fee.
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
475 Riverside Drive, Room 566, New York, NY 10115 (212)870-2295.
P.O. Box 19405, Washington, DC 20036 (202)387-8030
Co-op America Quarterly: A Magazine for Building Economic Alternatives
Co-op America, 2100 M Street, N.W., Suite 403, Washington, DC 20063 (202)872-5307 or (800)424-COOP
National Boycott News
6505 28th Avenue, N.E., Seattle, WA 98115 (206)523-0421
$10 per year for individuals, $15 for organizations, $20 for corporations.
Calvert Social Venture Partners
7201 Wisconsin Avenue #310, Bethesda, MD 20814 (301)718-4272
Clean Yield Publications
Box 1880, Greensboro Bend, VT 05482 (802)533-7178
2100 M Street, NW, Suite 403, Washington, DC 20063 (202)872-5307 or (800)424-COOP
First Nations Development Institute
69 Kelly Road, Falmouth, VA 22405 (703)371-5615
Frankline Research and Development Center
7111 Atlantic Avenue, 4th floor, Boston, MA 02111 (617)423-6655
Good Money Publications, Inc.
P.O. Box 363, Worcester, VT 05682 (802)223-3911 or (800)535-3551
Loring, Wolcott and Coolidge
230 Congress St., Boston, MA 02110 (617)523-6531
The Seventh Generation Fund
P.O. Box 10, Forestville, CA 95436 (707)887-1559
Social Investment Fourm
430 First Avenue North, Suite 290, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (612)333-8338
2100 M Street N.W. Washington DC 20036 (800)424-2667
Defenders of Wildlife
1244 19th Street NW Washington DC 20036 (202)659-9510 or (800)972-9979
National Business Association Credit Union
3807 Otter Street P.O. Box 2206, Bristol, PA 19007 (800)441-0878
National Wildlife Federation
1400 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20036 (202)797-6800 or (800)847-7378
Working Assets Visa
701 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111 (415)989-3200 or (800)543-8800
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE BUSINESSES AND PUBLICATIONS
Business Ethics Magazine
1107 Hazeltine Blvd., Suite 530, Chaska, MN 55318 (612)448-8864
New England Business Association for Social Responsibility
45 Lyme Road, Suite 304, Hanover, NH 03755 (603) 643-1426
Social Venture Network
1388 Sutter St., Suite 1010, San Francisco, CA 94109 (415)771-4308
ALTERNATIVE AND GREEN TRADE
Aid to Artisans
80 Mountain Spring Road, Farmington, CT 06032 (203)677-1649
The Body Shop(national headquarters)
45 Horsehill Road, Hanover Technical Center, Cedar Knolls, NJ07927 (201)984-2535 or (800)541-2535
101 Tosca Drive, Stoughton, MA 02072 (617)344-7227
Carries foodstuffs from Latin America and Zimbabwe; mail-order catalogue for individuals and retailers; works with indigenous in Mexico and Peru.
Fair Trade Foundation
65 Landing Road, Higgenum, CT 06441 (203)345-3374, Fax:(203)347-2043
Friends of the Third World, Inc.
611 West Wayne Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802-2125 (219)422-1650
Carries foodstuffs and handicrafts from over 30 countries; 65-70 percent of profit goes to the producers; wholesale only; works with Native Americans.
Global Village Trading Company
7071 Carroll Ave., Takoma Park, MD 20912 (800)68-CRAFT
Clothes and handicrafts from Latin America and Asia; products made by indigenous people in Thailand and Latin America; mail-order catalogue for individuals and wholesale.
46 Maplewood Mall, Philadelphia, PA 19144 (215)849-0808
Clothes, crafts and coffee from Latin America, Thailand, and Africa; 33-50 percent of profit returned to producers; catalogue for individuals and wholesale; retail store in Philadelphia
Marketplace: Handwork of India
1461 Ashland Ave., Evanston, IL 60201 (800) 726-8905
Clothing made in India by indigenous people, underprivileged women, handicapped people, and untouchables (harijans); retail and wholesale by catalogue.
845 North Lincoln Street, Arlington, VA 22201 (703)527-5067
The Nature Company
750 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94710 (800)843-5257
Crafts, clothes, food, and household goods from co-operatives and indigenous communities in Latin America; 40 to 45 percent of profit goes to the producers; provides producers with technical assistance and market research; retail and wholesale by catalogue.
704 Main Street, Box L, Akron, PA 17501 (717)859-4971
Crafts, clothes, and food from over 20 countries; products made by indienous people in Central and South America; wholesale catalogue for retailers; 77 stores affiliated with Mennonite churches. Write for a list of stores in your area.
Serrv Self-Help Handicrafts
500 Main Street, P.O. Box 365, New Windsor, MD 21776-0365 (800)423-0071
Handicrafts, household goods and clothes from Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Native American communities; wholesale catalogue only.
44 Hercules Drive, Colchester, VT 05446 (800)441-2538.
Carries environmentally safe household goods, cleansers, personal-care products, stationery, educational toys, and clothes; 4 percent of profits from their "Rainforest Essentials" line of personal-care products goes to Cultural Survival; mail-order catalogue.
P.O. Box 380, Summertown, TN 38483 (800)445-1991
A GREEN CORPORATION
The Body Shop is probably one of the world's most successful "green" and socially responsible companies. Known best for its "cruelty-free" bodycare products, it produces and sells its own line of natural cometics, soaps, and lotions containing no ingredients tested on animals within the last five years. The Body Shop advocates environmentally responsible packaging and has in-store recycling of its product containers.
The Body Shop is committed to fair trade and to promoting human-rights, environmental, and development projects. The company's dedication to progressive social change begins at home with its employee child-care service. It extends as far as the Third World, where The Body Shop sponsors "Trade Not Aid." Employing people from local commu9nities to grow ingredients and make products for the company, this program operates in Nepal, India, and Brazil. The Body Shop also combines its efforts with those of Amnesty International, Cultural Survival, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and other organizations. Working with Cultural Survival, The Body Shop has launched a line of rainforest products and provided financial support for the TV series "Millennium," hosted by CS founder and board president David Manybury-Lewis. On the occasion of the airing of "Millennium," The Body Shop is beginning an in-store promotional campaign of Cultural Survival and Indigenous rights.
READING FOR RIGHT LIVING
The growing awareness of environmental issues has meant that the number of books on such topics has mushroomed. The nature and reference sections of bookstores have many how-to books on preserving the environment. The Green Consumer Supermarket Guide (Penguin Books, 1991 - $7.95) by Joel Makower, John Elkington, and Julia Hailes, rates 3,000 brand-name products including food, personal-care products, household cleaners.
Another excellent consumer's guide is Shopping for a Better World (Prentice Hall, 1992 - $5.99) by the Council on Economic Priorities. Pocket-sized, it rates over 2,000 supermarket brand-name products on the manufacturer's record on charitable giving, women and minity outreach, investment in South Africa, environmental record, family benefits, employee relations, and military contracts. The book lists major companies, the names of their CEOs, addresses, and telephone numbers to make it easier for you to contact them.
INVESTING IN COMMUNITIES
Investing in Native American commu9nity development is an effective way to make your money count. A good place to look is First Nations Development Institute, an organization of Indian professionals dedicated to promotiong sustainable, culturally appropriate economic development. FNDI's Oweesta Fund invests in micro-enterprises, reservation-based funds, and banks that are owned by or work with Native Americans.
FNDI can help those who want to invest directly in Native communities but aren't sure which to choose. FNDI runs project providing technical assistance for economic development and conducts reserch on economic ties between Native and non-Native communities. It has a business scholarship program for tribal leaders and a marketing program for Native American arts and crafts.
Seventh Generation Fund (not related to the Vermont mail-order company) is the only Native American public foundation in the United States. Created by and for Native Americans, the fund provides communities with grants and technical assistance for projects relating to economic development, native rights and traditions, and women and famiies. The fund gets its money from foundations, corporations, churches, and the public. Donations to the fund are tax-deductible.
Article copyright Cultural Survival, Inc.