The more I see of Shop Smart, the more I like it. The Jan 08 issue's stand-out feature: "The Best Companies to Buy From." The Consumers' Union tapped KLD Research and Analytics, The Rough Guide to Shopping with a Conscience author Richie Unterberger and Better World Shopping Guide author Ellis Jones, and it came up with ten companies that it says are doing the right thing. The best part of the article: these companies make good products that are often widely available.
The top ten, with hyperlinks to the policies that landed them there, are: Ben & Jerry's; Clif Bar; Kettle Foods; Stonyfield Farms; Burt's Bees; Seventh Generation; Tom's of Maine; Ikea; Patagonia; and Timberland.
What I find interesting about the list is that I know at least three of the companies are owned by other, larger firms (Unilever owns Ben & Jerry's, Colgate-Palmolive owns Tom's of Maine, and Clorox just announced plans to buy Burt's Bees) and both Seventh Generation and Tom's of Maine have business relationships with Wal-Mart (see more details here and here). This tells me that there's growing recognition among companies that having a socially-conscious business unit is an effective way to cultivate a fairly recession-proof audience segment -- the people who don't necessarily let price determine which product they'll select in a consumer category.