Published on January 28th, 2008 | by Lisa Kivirist5
Whole Foods Market: Bagging Profit for Purpose
What do you think about Whole Foods Market’s plan to bag disposable plastic grocery bags in their 270 stores on this coming Earth Day, April 22? Can corporations on the greener side of the aisle like Whole Foods Market truly put purpose before profit?
I’m voting a cautious “yes.” Maybe the tides are slowly turning when Whole Foods can successfully mix education and advocacy into our routine shopping experiences, from showcasing produce from local family farms to reminding us that how we transport the product home is just as important as what we buy. Bagging plastic bags illustrates that going green and protecting our food system reach beyond the choices we throw in our shopping cart. Like nature, and as we talk about in our book, ECOpreneuring: Putting Purpose and the Planet Before Profits, we need to be mindful of how all our actions integrate and work holistically together. In a country where we pass through the check-out aisle infinitely more times than the voting booth, retailers possess the potential to serve as change agents through their choices and actions.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though. Once again, America is trying to keep pace with the rest of the world. Countries from Ireland to Australia have taken steps to ban plastic bags. Even the Chinese government just banned certain types of plastic bags. Turns out that getting rid of plastic bags reduces harmful effects on wildlife and cuts the need for increasingly more expensive oil. In China’s case, the ban will save 38 million barrels of oil according to the Chicago Tribune. Decrease waste, help the environment and improve the bottom line — now that’s classic ecopreneuring.