First posted March 2010
Join Organic Consumers Association in Protest of WholeFoods Market
A WF employee, unhappy with this discussion, made a comment(4/20)and states - "And btw, none of the produce in my department is from China. Period."Whole Foods is a multi-billion dollar, U.S. based organic and natural foods chain that is buying up organic markets and lowering standards. Now they are trying to expand into Canada. WholeFoods likes to market to conscious consumers but when it comes to things those consumers care about like climate change, safe and healthy foods, and domestic Fair Trade, WholeFoods is all wrong.
While this anonymous person has a right to their opinion, perhaps they missed the point in the data, that products from China sold at WF may not be in their 'produce' department.
Only one-third of the products sold by Whole Foods and their major supplier, UNFI are actually organic, while two-thirds are conventional foods greenwashed as so-called "natural"
WFM and UNFI talk about Fair Trade, while opposing unions and buying from suppliers who routinely violate the rights of farmworkers and other food workers. Join the Vancouver community and friends from Seattle in a rally on Monday March 8th to tell Whole Foods and its investors that what they are doing is "bad for the planet, bad for the people."Why protest Whole Foods?
GREENWASHING FOOD: When it comes to healthy foods, Mackey says it's his priority, but instead of increasing organic sales, two-thirds of Whole Foods products are so-called natural foods that have no standards attached to them. In the majority of cases, "natural" products are greenwashed conventional products, produced using pesticides, GMOs and chemical fertilizers, with "natural" label claims neither policed nor monitored. Whole Foods has the potential to widely expand support to organic farmers and bolster the organic movement but cares more about it's bottom line--"natural" is not organic and increased sales of "natural" foods divert profits from organics back to conventional, industrial agriculture (see the Organic Consumers Association "Whole Foods and the Myth of Natural" for more on this).
CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL: In a recent article in the New Yorker, WholeFoods CEO John Mackey dismissed "hysteria about global warming" claiming, "prosperity tends to correlate to warmer temperatures." And though top scientists almost unanimously agree that human activity causes climate change, Mackey says there is "no consensus." (New Yorker, 1/4/2010)
REFUSAL ON CARBON DISCLOSURE: In a study from sustainable business group Ceres earned a pitiful 27 score (out of a possible 100) on the assessment--flunking in basically every category. Whole Foods neither accounts for nor publicly discloses its emissions. As of the date of the report, the company didn't have emissions goals or plans in place for reducing emissions. Since that report was released, the company has taken on some additional commitments, but really doesn't appear to have changed much. (Ceres/Mother Jones)
VIOLATING FAIR TRADE PRINCIPLES AND LABOR RIGHTS: UNFI and WholeFoods have a history of cutting workers' benefits. Both have gone to extreme lengths to block their employees from choosing to unionize. WholeFoods has long fought unionization of its retail locations, largely ignored the demands of farm workers organizations, like the United Farm Workers, and kept workers' wages consistently low by industry standards. UNFI has repeatedly fought efforts by its employees to fight for better pay, benefits and working conditions. Where workers have successfully formed unions, UNFI has begun moving jobs to new, non-union locations.