The Best & the Worst: By Shanti Moorjani

Sometimes it's the little things that matter and make a difference.  As a "Person of the Planet" we daily make individual decisions that collectively help the environment.  There is one area, however, that is difficult to know about and gets into murky waters.  That is, "which corporations provide us with products that are produced sustainably?" I asked my friend Shirley in Oakland to help with research.  Here are the "Best and the Worst" companies in America.

The coal company Peabody Energy (BTU) came out on the top as the worst US polluter according to a Newsweek study.  Remember this when you are investing.....avoid!     On the same list coming in at #4 of worst companies, is Conagra. Conagra Brands, Inc. is a North American packaged food company that sells to supermarkets and restaurants.  Their empire of food brand names is far reaching.  It has had many major violations against the environment and has paid nearly $73,000,000 in fines.  Michael Pollen, writer of the Omnivores Dilemma and other books, portrays Conagra as a major villain with bad practices and misleading food labeling.

Conagra's list of companies is vast.  As I look over 60+ names of companies under its umbrella,  several names stood out. Here are a few: PAM and Wesson oils, Reddi-Whip-whippped cream,  PeterPan peanut butter, Bertoli Italian olive oil,  Chiffon margarine,  Jiffy Pop popcorn (also Act II),  Marie Callender frozen foods,  Van Camps and Rosario beans, and even Swiss Miss cocoa.  Sorry if I mentioned some of your favorite brands, but if you'd like the whole list, googleConagra brands on line.

As consumers, we do consume, and money does talk.  Perhaps if we boycott or write letters, someone will listen to our concerns.  

To end on a more positive note, Cisco Systems, Inc.  is the number one (#3 on the International list)  American company for the BEST eco-friendly business practices. For consumers, Seventh Generation company puts the safety of their customers first and is willing to take the time and resources to develop quality household products with environmentally friendly practices. Othernotable companies with products we might use are:  The Hershey Company,  Patagonia and Go-Lite outdoor clothing and equipment, New Belgium Brewing company (Flat Tire beer),  IKEA,  Sungevity, and Johnson and Johnson.

If you have more information on food companies with excellent environmental practices, let me know at lshantiom@gmail.com. In the meantime, do your unique part to help transform the planet.  Be sure to show up on Thursday night, October 26 at 7:00pmto be informed about "Why Public Policy Matters".    Dr. Robert "Bob" Epstein will discuss the major global warming bills he help write and get passed in California and more.   See you there.