Many people are unaware that 80% of all antimicrobial drugs are administered to animals. Unfortunately, this fact shouldn’t come as much of a surprise; the Union of Concerned Scientists provided the same stat ten years ago in the 2001 report, Hogging It: Estimates of Antimicrobial Use in Livestock. Of course, industry has since ignored and/or rejected this figure every chance they’ve had. But despite the best efforts of Agribiz, as this week’s press release from Congresswoman Louise Slaughter reports, the FDA has officially confirmed the 80% figure; check it out. I should note that our friend Ralph Loglisci of the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future contacted the FDA back in December and was given the same numbers (he wrote an excellent post about this, which is absolutely worth reading). Nonetheless, it seems significant that the antibiotics stats have been released to and publicized by a congressperson. Very official, we think – and hopefully capable of capturing the nation’s attention.
“People, planet, profit” is today’s measure of how well a company is doing. While corporate social responsibility might have once meant a nice contribution to charity at Christmas, those days are gone. A new study by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) shows consumers are taking “people, planet, profit,” also known as triple bottom line accounting, very seriously, and companies hoping to compete will have to take a good hard look at how they produce what they hope to sell.
According to the NMI study, 50% of consumers avoid brands whose practices they don’t agree with—twice as many as in 2005. Consumers have been educating themselves about the things they buy and the food they eat for years and that knowledge is impacting buying decisions. Despite some companies’ best efforts to pretend otherwise, the NMI study shows that consumers want to make sure they aren’t doing more harm than good when purchasing goods, regardless of factors like price.
Want to move product in today’s marketplace? Then the real bottom line is this: consumers don’t want to buy products that damage animals, the earth or people. In the long run, this is only good news for everyone, from corporate vice-presidents to small family farmers.