What would the world be today if no-one had ever denounced the lack of justice surrounding irresponsible or even criminal practices? Well probably hell on Earth! If no one had ever exposed the crimes against humanity done by Hitler in the 1930s, or its counter communist part Stalin? We would probably live in a truly Orwellian world where no one would have freedom of speech or thought.
Sadly, we are living in the capitalist equivalent of an Orwellian nightmare, where people are so free, they can buy and eat whatever crap they want and throw away their garbage unpunished, filling lands, oceans, and rivers with deadly chemicals, polluting our planet, and jeopardizing the future of our descendants. How irresponsible is that? Well, too much!
Remember that big supermarket chains have the ultimate responsibility in deciding which brands they sell. Many supermarkets have created their own brands to increase their profit margins with white labels, but they don’t do it to protect the environment at all. When will supermarkets start to cure their shelves in favor of socially responsible brands?
Their power is enormous, and the brands know and use all of their lobbyist resources to reach their goals and gain more distributors at all cost.
We, conscious consumers, who care for our planet need to lobby as well, and boycott with our buying decisions, but it seems this is a slow battle, and we need to take action in other ways, exposing the supermarkets who are accomplices to bad brands like Nutella, who is alone responsible for a large part of the Indonesian rainforests, habitat to orangutans, to be destroyed in order to plant palm oil. Palm oil which they use to make their product less expensive but still keep an attractive consistency in exchange for our natural biodiversity and the habitat of thousands of endangered species.
If supermarkets keep aiming at reducing costs at any social cost and without moral and legally binding obligations, with a shortsighted view of the future, the environment will keep suffering.
Imagine mountains of trash coming from a Carrefour supermarket every day. Banana plastic wraps that you take to your kitchen, from there, to trash landfills or incineration facilities or exported to a third world country to be discharged into the sea, very probably ending up in the food chain and sooner or later into breast milk fed to babies.
Studies have shown that nano plastics generate genetic and hereditary diseases not only in children but also in descendants. No wonder why there are more and more genetic hereditary sicknesses. For now, you may be lucky, but if the trend continues, by polluting our food chain you may find your family inheriting such diseases as well.
Another company that seems to have followed Carrefour’s bad practices is Mercadona. One only needs to walk around the fruit and groceries section to see how wrapped in plastic all their stuff is. What annoys me is when you read a sign saying you need plastic gloves to manipulate fruits.
Mercadona, how much more plastic do you want us to waste ?
When you buy bread, you also get the typical paper wrap with a small transparent plastic window. Really??? Is this really necessary? NO!
Our grandmothers did not need plastic to wrap the bread, so why do we?
Is it really so important to be able to see the bread inside? Can’t we just trust the supermrket and see it at home and if it’s not what we wanted, take it back or never buy it again?
This horrible practice can be observed in other supermarkets aswell, like BonPreu or Lidl. Bonpreu is a Catalan company proud to portray its Catalan origin by supporting local producers but does little to protect the environment from plastics, as they share similar bad practices as Mercadona.
The cashiers are still commanded to offer the plastic bags to the customers. This is also done at Carrefour and Mercadona . This tactic is perhaps aimed at generating extra income from the bags which are sold 5 cents each, adding an extra hundred thousand euros per month with this simple but polluting tactic.
Lidl is a German supermarket chain. German companies have the reputation of being greener than the rest, but this does not apply outside their borders most probably as you can see the same bad practices aswell.
The supermarkets are great accomplices of the socially irresponsible brands. They are the ones who help them to get to the public, and their decisions influence the consumers as well.The costs reduction strategies are always a highest priority for them and cutting out on waste management spending, their benefits are even higher for their investors.
If we select the brands which are the most socially responsible when we buy we can force the supermarkets to benefit them. Nonetheless in my opinion we should force them to comply with zero waste management systems reducing the use of single-use plastics, etc. Its up to us to reinforce the movement and gain public attention and influence if we want to create a healthier and greener future for our families.