Chapter 7 - The Sociology of Sustainable Development

The company also promotes their social concerns by

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Unformatted text preview: hiter is one of the largest causes of toxic water pollution in the United States.”61 The company has also successfully lowered its solid and dairy wastes and continues to find strategies to do this. For example, they are attempting to use what they call “totes,” reusable containers, to receive shipments from their suppliers. Economically, the company provides very good worker benefits and attempts to limit the income disparity between its highest paid and lowest paid workers. However, this has been difficult to do. For example, in their 1998 annual report, the social auditor notes that female senior nonexecutive managers earn 12 percent less than their male counterparts and “the income disparity between the highest and lowest paid employees is near its historical high at 16–1.” The company also promotes their social concerns by allocating more than 7 percent of annual profits to the Ben & Jerry Foundation that supports grassroots organizations. The recipients of foundation grants range from envi- THE SOCIOLOGY OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 233 ronmental justice groups (the Community Coalition for Environmental Justice in Seattle), to groups fighting for affordable housing (Mutual Housing Association in New York), to those lobbying against sweatshops in China (National Mobilization Against Sweatshops). One of the reasons that Ben and Jerry’s, along with companies such as the Body Shop and Seventh Generation, are considered to be “pro-environmental” is because they were the first to sign the CERES principles (see Table 7.2). CERES stands for Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies. The CERES principles, originally drafted in 1989 under the title the “Valdez Principles” (after the Exxon Valdez’s oil spill in Prince Edward Sound), are based upon the ideas that corporate environmental responsibility, in addition to legislation, is necessary for “environmental progress.” “Success . . . depends on the willingness of corporations to lead, rather than be led, in th...
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