Cultural Creativity at Work

Share your ideas about responsible business practices, conscious consuming, social responsibility, the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) and sustainability. 

Monday, January 08, 2007

Big Business in Local Economy and Sustainability Movements

In the local economy and sustainability movements, Big Business tends to be villanized. And the view on this judgement is mixed.

Corporate Saint?

Large Corporations provide valuable jobs and charitable services to their local communities. For example, Target offers free and discounted passes to Fine Arts events, making the wonder of art available to everyone, not just an elite few. Should we be looking at what a business is doing instead of how large or profitable it happens to be.

Or Corporate Sinner?

At the same time, consumers are at the mercy of corporate marketing. Giving new meaning to the concept of "buyer beware," shoppers must take special pains to be educated on whether a big business sustainability effort is sincerely apart of that business culture -- and not just a marketing ploy to cover up other irresponsible things they are doing. Walmart, for example, has been the poster child of naughty corporate behavior, forcing small, locally owed enterprises out of business and effectually destroying local economies. This is all while they are promoting organics into their line of fresh produce.

Making the Difference

Luckily, there is a growing market (50M+) of consumers in America who are making the conscious decision to spend their dollars in ways that support their values instead of just their pocketbook. Buying local, buying green and buying sustainably, called "voting with their dollars," is a characteristic of Cultural Creatives, the subculture that has created this market. And they are mighty good at reading the fine print and doing their research -- whether the source of their goods comes from a large or small enterprises.

National Advocacy for Local Economies

Keeping alive the spirit of conscious consuming on a national level are shown in these groups:

LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, a market segment focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice. LOHAS is known for their industry journal and annual expo. (

BALLE, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, is an international alliance of 42 independently operated local business networks dedicated to building Local Living Economies. (

And of course, CCBN, the Cultural Creatives Business Network, sspecializes in bringing Cultural Creatives in business together, i.e. people who care about more than just the bottom line -- to meet, exchange referrals and collaborate toward profitable ends. (

Other Resources and New Twists on Big Business in the Sustainability Movement

Big Business amd Sustainability: A contradiction in terms? by Timothy

Can Big Business Save the World? Discover how people are transforming big
business in order to transform the world
by What is Enlightenment Magazine.

This Ring a Nobel? Social and environmental entrepreneurs have a lot to teach big
By John Elkington and Mark Lee

The Corporation a documentary by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbot and Joel Bakan

Sustainability is good business by Chris Boyd

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