Summary. One area of activism involves initiatives to increase value for consumers, improve working conditions for workers, and ensure positive economic, social, and environmental impact from businesses. Such efforts help people save money and live better.
Southpark Walmart Episode. The Southpark episode Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes that originally aired on 3 November 2004, provided a transcendent and comprehensive holistic view of the problems associated with large retail stores. Rather than demonizing Wal-Mart, the episode included the role that consumers play.
Tree Trunk Movements. While grass-roots movements have value, greater impact can sometimes be achieved by working with tree trunks rather than grass roots. The principle is one of leveraging. When a locally owned store decides to promote reusable cloth bags instead of paper or plastic, it has a limited impact. When Walmart decides to promote reusable fabric bags instead of paper or plastic, it has a huge impact. As the watermark of the environmental awareness tide rises, companies like Walmart have been quick to respond to social interests with programs such as the Walmart Sustainability statement. When activists influence big business, it can have a big impact. Walmart is now providing organically grown food as well as clothing.
Partnering Rather Than Picketing. Rather than picketing and being angry at big business, savvy activists realize that partnerships with big business can produce better results than creating “us and them” adversarial relationships. When consumers asked Apple computer for more environmentally friendly computers, the company responded above and beyond what consumers could have imagined with the new Apple Environmental standards that look at the full product lifecycle.
Video. Below is a CNBC exclusive video (courtesy of Hulu) describing changes taking place within Walmart that are largely a result of interests expressed by consumers.