New Web site reveals the worst practices of America's largest companies

Co-op America launched its new Web site today to help consumers discover corporate America’s worst players and most destructive practices. The site profiles more than 150 major companies—including Wal-Mart, General Motors, Coca-Cola, and ExxonMobil—in nearly 25 industries. An all-in-one resource for ethical consumers, the Web site allows users to compare companies within an industry, write to companies to express their concerns, and find responsible alternatives that better reflect their values.

“A growing number of Americans are concerned about whether the companies they purchase from are responsible corporate citizens,” says Erin Gorman, Responsible Shopper program director. “Many large U.S. companies engage in practices that would alarm their customers if they knew about them. The new Responsible Shopper site gives consumers up-to-date information from around the globe about corporate labor, human rights, and environmental abuses, and helps people make smart choices about where to spend their dollars.”

Responsible Shopper looks at many of the companies that consumers purchase goods and services from regularly: including Adidas,, Colgate, Dell, Gap, Ford, General Mills, Kmart, McDonalds, Nike, Starbucks, Wendy’s, and Whole Foods.

Each month, Responsible Shopper will also post a snapshot of practices within a given industry, highlighting the best and the worst from a particular business sector and making recommendations for how consumers can most responsibly direct their purchases. The site kicks off by spotlighting the energy sector, focusing on coal companies in April and oil-and-gas companies in May. Future posts will focus on supermarkets, water bottlers, cosmetics manufacturers, and Internet service providers.

“We’re providing a snapshot of the global impact that businesses have on human rights, the environment, trade inequity, and more,” says Niki Lagos, lead researcher for Responsible Shopper. “Plus, we’ll connect shoppers with ongoing consumer campaigns—organized by Co-op America and other nonprofits—that are working to change irresponsible practices at problem companies.”

The site’s search function lets concerned consumers quickly and easily find information about specific businesses. A new feature called the “Green Shift,” offers additional tips on how to avoid problem companies and shift toward businesses whose practices benefit people and the planet.